First of all, I should clarify the difference between a nun and a sister. Most people casually use the word “nun” to refer to all women religious. Strictly speaking, however, very few of the religious women we call “Sister” are actually “nuns.”
While the Church’s laws on religious life can be very complicated, the general understanding is that nuns live contemplative lives. That is, they remain cloistered or semi-cloistered within their monastery – removed from the world and devoted to their community and to secluded and quiet lives of prayer. A Catholic sister, on the other hand, is often called “active” or “apostolic.” She engages in active work out in the world. Some may be teachers while others may minister in hospitals or parishes. So if you think that when you were in school you were taught by nuns, you were probably wrong. They were most likely sisters.
So, having made that distinction, I will start with the nun news. Many of you likely already have heard the sad announcement that, after 63-plus years of a beautiful prayerful presence in Bloomington, our blessed neighbors the Poor Clares nuns will be vacating their monastery at 8650 Russell Ave South.
The Poor Clares report that “due to diminishing numbers, aging, and very real health concerns” they have decided to move. They have accepted an invitation to join the Franciscan Sisters of Rochester where they can still belong to a community of prayer but also with whom they can receive better care. The last report that I heard was that they hadn’t fixed a departure date, but they expect it to be in 2018. We will miss their holy and spiritual presence in Bloomington and I hope that we at Nativity of Mary can find a proper way to thank them before they leave.
Now for the sister news. We at Nativity of Mary are proud of our very own Cecilia Molina. Last year Cecilia left for Ann Arbor, Michigan, to begin religious formation with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Last month Cecilia received the Dominican habit (as you can see in the photo – she’s the one on the right) and began her first of two years as a canonical novice.
Cecilia has taken on a new name, Maria Francisco, in honor of our Blessed Mother and of the little boy to whom Mary appeared at Fatima. This is an important next step in her formation. Many of these sisters go on to serve in Catholic education, evangelism, and mission work.
Congratulations Sister Maria Francisco! Please, let’s keep her in our prayers! Poor Clares, we commend you to God too. We love our nuns and our sisters. May they inspire us all to know the great joy of offering our lives in love to Jesus.