And Mary’s ‘Yes’ Continues
Many people wonder what is it about a religious vocation that brings in so many young women. As the vocation director of our community for its entire 21 years of existence, I have time and again answered these questions: “What is a sister? What do you all do? Why are you here?”
People want to know what they do, how they find joy, why they are always giggling, and what exactly their education and vocation is. I don’t mind answering the questions over and over, but at a certain point it began to dawn on me, “Why do they have to ask that? Is there another way they could have these answers, and is there a way to get more religious women out there?”
This led us to write the book And Mary’s Yes Continues. You might already have this book, but chances are you do not. This book fills a void and provides much-needed information for young women considering a possible religious vocation. It also helps us answer so many questions that potential vocations have.
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Where we are based, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, there are Catholic colleges, institutions, and hospitals. Yet I can go to them and be there for days and have a hard time finding a sister. Years ago, this was not the case. If you went into a Catholic hospital, you saw sisters. If you went into a Catholic school, you saw sisters. If you went into a Catholic orphanage, or into any of the different institutions run by the Catholic church, the sisters were there.
Why were they there? Because we sisters are spiritual moms. We mother the world. We take that very seriously in our vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. We give our lives to God, but we give them as moms bringing His children and therefore our children back home to the Father. This spiritual motherhood has always radiated out through the church.
Today, there is a great opportunity to help return to that tradition. There is a vast desire for sisters to return to Catholic schools and hospitals. They are wanted to return to the places we belong with our consecrated spiritual Motherhood. The book And Mary’s Yes Continues helps answer the questions potential vocations have so that we can better grow our community of sisters.
My community, by God’s goodness and mercy, is growing rapidly to meet this demand for sisters. Mother receives numerous invitations asking the sisters to come to teach in schools. Currently, we have at least 400 invitations, and it grows every single day. Yet we don’t even have 400 sisters right now.
By God’s goodness, four Sisters built our Mother house 20 years ago to house 100 sisters. Today, we are well over that 100. We actually began to divide cells, which is the monastic term for rooms, in half and house two Sisters in there. During the summer, when the Sisters come home for their canonical retreats, they end up in sleeping bags on the floor. Still more vocations continue to come. Now, the average age of all of us is just 31 years old. So it’s like camping out, and they kind of enjoy it. But, it’s not the most monastic manner of living our Dominican life. That’s why, with God’s blessing, we are building a new priory in Texas (place Texas EPK) to accommodate another 115 of these sisters.
For all the vocations who will fill this new space, there are many questions that have to be answered. We hope and work for a vocation to be founded on knowledge, love, and serving. A young woman discerning a vocation to religious life needs to know about religious life.We offer the book And Mary’s Yes Continues to provide many of the answers being sought.
This book is also for the parents of young women discerning a vocation to religious life. They need to understand this life so that they can support their daughters. That is very important because a lot of parents are clueless about religious life. Even if a young woman has made it to one of our vocation discernment retreats, and they come back understanding a lot for that mere 24 hours, it can be challenging to explain all they have learned. Parents can make up that space, that distance, by reading And Mary’s Yes Continues.
If you or someone you know is wanting to discover more about our life, please look into And Mary’s Yes Continues. It is available on our community’s website, SistersofMary.org. Pray daily that, like Mary, you will say yes to the divine will. May God bless you and thanks for listening.
Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP is a Foundress and Vocations Director for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Her podcast “And The Truth Shall Set You Free” can be downloaded every Friday at 1:00 p.m. EST from iTunes. The podcast can be seen on YouTube at Go_LEDigital.