I was trained in engineering disciplines, doing research for biomedical applications. This ministry is not a common ministry that most people think a Sister should do or be involved in. I have also worked in a non-Catholic environment with people from various faiths who come from different countries including Iran, India, Cuba, and China, who were curious about how my ministry connects with being a religious sister. Even people who grew up in this country, Catholic or non-Catholic, are curious about my religious life and ministry.
Once in a while, I have conversations that start with a question like this: “Sisters usually wear habits and stay inside a convent to pray or work with the poor and in the church. But you are so different. How does a sister like you serve God and help the poor by working in an engineering and research field?” I usually respond by asking: “Do you know what a ‘sister’ or a ‘nun’ means?” One original response I received was: “It means you belong to a habitat organization (Habitat for Humanity), where you go around building houses for the poor. Is that the reason you are an engineer?”
A call to religious life is a sacred call. It is not a call for a hidden life or an extraordinary life. It is one type of call from God, rooted in Jesus’ mission. It is a call to be radically present and to live authentically within the world, filled with endless actions of God’s love. This call requires on-going transformation and conversion in order to be relevant with the signs of our time. A call to religious life needs to be examined, reflected upon, clarified, and finally, brought forward no matter how unusual it may seem.
So, how do you respond to the question of what it means to be a sister? How and where do you see sisters living authentically Jesus’ mission? Are you called to use your gifts as a Catholic sister in response to God’s invitation to be radically present in today’s world?