A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SISTER OF ST. MARY OF NAMUR

It has been said, "If you've met one Sister of St. Mary...you've met ONE Sister of St. Mary." We have found that our ministries stretch far and wide, giving each Sister a unique role to fulfill. A few of the Sisters decided to share their stories of a typical day in the life of a Sister of St. Mary of Namur.

     

SISTER YOLANDA

I open my eyes, usually before the alarm clock rings and begin my day with a short grateful prayer to God for the gift of being alive!

I live in a community with two other sisters, and our convent is called “Marian House”. A common day for me normally begins with a time of personal prayer, and then I join my community in the Chapel where we pray Lauds together. This is followed by a shared breakfast before we each go our separate ways to begin our “ministry day”. I find the time and place to attend a daily Mass as do the other members of my community. Our life needs to be grounded in prayer in order to receive the strength and direction that we need daily.

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My ministry at present takes me in several directions; actually it is threefold.

    1. My main ministry is as an Affiliate Instructor at the University Of Dallas School Of Ministry on the Faculty for classes of Continuing Education Students.

    2. I also serve part time as Bishop’s Delegate for Women Religious in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

    3. What brings me most hope today is the ministry that I share with the other two sisters of my community. We recently moved into this convent with extra bedrooms for a specific purpose. We have been asked by our Province to work together to develop a plan to be able to invite young women who would like to discern a vocation to the religious life, to join us some evenings for prayers, meals, or on weekends, and/or to have live-in experiences with us to help them in a discernment to a religious life vocation. This is a work in progress, and will take shape as things evolve and women come to join us!

In the evenings, depending on our schedules, we may join together again to share a meal, prayer and conversation before we retire to our rooms for the night.

I live grateful to God for the gift of my vocation, and pray each day to be able to remain faithful to Him and willing to say “YES” each day, following in the steps of our Blessed Virgin Mary’s Magnificat! It is with great joy in my heart that I experience God’s love and call to me to serve Him in others always.

SISTER INES DIAZ

My day starts at 6:30 a.m. I wake up and thank God for the day, and get ready for my new day.

I have been selected as the new Director of Formation for the Sisters of Saint Mary’s Western Province. At this time I am attending many conferences; workshops that will help me receive my own formation and training for my new position.

I am also working on learning English as a Second Language, which has been a challenge for me, especially the speaking part.

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Currently we do not have any young women interested in formation and that concerns me at times. Someone asked me the other day what I was doing if I didn’t have anyone in formation? Sometimes I feel I am not working enough to bring in more young women to decide on a vocation. Sr. Cecile told me a story about two Sisters that were hungry and they did not even have any potatoes to cook. So one of the Sisters asked the other one to put a pot of water on the stove to boil and she said, “They will come.” As soon as she did that there was a knock on the door and there was a young woman with a bag of potatoes. So I know they will come.

When I am at home I work with my community and fulfill my community’s duties, and sometimes it can be a little challenging, but with God’s help I seem to work things in. What keeps me going is my faith, and the support of Sisters who are always praying for me. I share my day and get advice on how to handle some of the challenges I encounter. For instance, the culture and language here can be difficult at times; however, I manage to work things out and pray to God for His strength to help me overcome these challenges.

God, Prayer and Community are my Strength.

Sr. Ines Diaz

SISTER MIRIAM NeSMITH

My community is Bethel Community, aka Green River Trail community, in Fort Worth a few blocks from Nolan Catholic High School.

I live in community with Srs Anselma Knabe, Bernice Knapek, Lola Ulupano, and a cat, Freddy. My ministry is twenty hours a week as Outreach Coordinator at St. Rita Parish. I invite you to enter one day of my week.

Morning for me begins with a “Thank you Lord, for another day.” Then a cup of hot coffee, and a waffle smothered with peanut butter follows me to my room. I take needed time for private prayer, reflecting on the scriptures of the day and other readings.

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I leave for the parish, attending Prayer Service one day, Mass on the other days, and culminating in a wonderfully alive elementary school Mass on Friday. After Mass, the staff members present that day (we are all part-time) gather in the office kitchen for coffee and toast to look at the day ahead of us.

This particular day, some parishioners helped me prepare simple lunch sacks for the homeless men and women who come to the church office. A little later the doorbells rings and the secretary says, ”Sister, it‘s for you.” When I go to the door, I can tease Wallis (not real name): “Wallis, I have lunch sacks, not breakfast sacks!” He laughs, saying, “But Sister, I didn’t eat anything yesterday.“ So he gets a sack and a “God bless you, Wallis.” “Same to you, Sister.”

Later, Buddy arrives with a new fellow I have not seen before. Buddy is known for watching out for others on the street. “Sister, could you give my new friend a lunch sack?” Buddy is one of many homeless veterans. There are several agencies trying to locate and help them, but many get lost in the system.

There are also Jason and Jane, who find shelter in abandoned shops down the street. Jane once asked me for an alarm clock so she could not be late for her appointment with her parole officer across the street at the police station. But this past Thanksgiving, after the days when our church office was closed, Jason came with a funeral service paper from a neighborhood Baptist church. His friend Jane had died. Jason asked me to pray for her and for him. So we stood and prayed. He thanked God for her friendship and asked God to take care of her forever now.

Later, I am called to go to the hospital. Back at the office, the pastor asks me for referral resources for some families he is seeing. It takes a while to gather that information as I look for resources for families who are Spanish-speaking,

Yes, I take some breaks to eat and drink something. Finally, I meet with a couple of the Knights of Columbus who plan some Fish Fries for Lenten Fridays. Then I begin to contact the Ladies Circles who plan Friday Soup Suppers. For now, it is a matter of coordinating dates. Later we will have small committees to organize it.

Finally, I can leave after a couple of phone calls to check on parishioners. In community, it is not my night to cook or plan the prayer so I rest a bit before the national news.

After a congenial super together, we gather for evening prayer. I love the way my Sisters are attuned to the needs of the world, of our nation, of our congregation, of our neighborhoods, and bring them to prayer.

After some time of relaxation in the evening, it is time to give thanks for the day, and offer God the night.

SISTER GINNY VISSING

I’ve had the privilege, as a Sister of St. Mary, to be the Director of Religious Education for the parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Wichita Falls, Texas since June, 1980. It has brought me many blessings to serve a warm and growing parish in North Texas for so many years.

Today I am called to serve children and adults in the preparation for children’s First Reconciliation and First Communion as well as children preparing for Baptism. I’m able to both direct the programs as well as teach in them, giving me personal contact with many of the children and their parents.

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My primary work, however, is to organize the Sunday Religious Education Program, to train and place catechists over classes of children and provide appropriate materials for the program. As DRE, I also direct Vacation Bible School every summer and have had very generous volunteers that make the week fun and rewarding for the children who come.

I’m also involved in several aspects of liturgy, some involving children, some involving adults:

  1. Helping engaged couples choose appropriate music for their wedding ceremony or Mass;
  2. Organizing children to light candles during Easter Vigil;
  3. Organizing women of the parish to distribute palms at all Masses on Palm Sunday Weekend;
  4. Coordinating teams to conduct Children’s Liturgy of the Word at 11:00 Mass on Sundays;
  5. Choosing and training children and young people to make up a candle light nativity procession at a Christmas eve Mass;
  6. Organizing the music for the choir for 11:00 Mass every Sunday and playing the piano for the Mass.

Each day is unique. Each day may mean reaching out to someone in need of a helping hand, a listening ear or an understanding heart. Some days are full of paper work, finances, calendar planning and materials gathering. Other days are full of the awareness that God is at work and it is truly the Holy Spirit bringing about the Kingdom of God that we so long for.