I just read an article recently, entitled: “Would life on this planet be any different without religious life?” by Sr. Annemarie Sanders, IHM. It caught my attention. I have thought about the future, I have been continuously praying while seeking God’s plan, and I feel called to living out God’s love as a Dominican Sister of Peace. However, having read articles about ‘Nuns and Nones’ and becoming aware of the ‘somes’ and ‘dones’, the question hit home for many reasons. Let me quote it again: “Would life on this planet be any different without religious life?”
In the past, the planet very much needed vowed religious. Just think about who would have opened the hospitals or schools? Where would the world be without those courageous responses to the needs of the past? Looking at our present days, Sr. Teresa Maya, CCVI stated in her Presidential Address to the LCWR: “We are no longer the ones that will open a new hospital, college or social services agency. We have empowered the next generation of lay ministry leaders to do this. However, we are not exempt from apostolic responses, that are closer to home, simpler, one on one, welcoming rather than solving, listening, and wiser! (…) We are giving shape to the future apostolic identity of our communities. Our recent ‘apostolic response’ to the migrant and refugee crisis should kindle our hope.”
“Would life on this planet be any different without religious life?” I believe, yes. Life would be very different. Why? As Sr. Annemarie writes in her article, “religious life is one that taps into the inward uneasiness of the world and explores its possibilities, …it fosters greater exploration of the work of the Divine in the lives of all people, … [it] helps the world listen more carefully to the faint whispers of God’s desires for it.”
I believe that the point is made. God needs us and society needs our way of life. Religious life is a conscious choice to respond to God’s apostolic call. We are driven by mission. Our life is rooted in God and nurtured by God in community, and we tap into the uneasiness of this world and respond with God’s love. That is why I’m choosing to respond to God’s call by signing over my life to God, in thanksgiving to God, as a Dominican Sister of Peace.
I have been asked several times: “Does religious life have a future?” I wonder, what is future anyway? I used to say that I came from the future, because Hungary is 6 hours ahead than Eastern Time in the USA where I live currently. In a sense, the future is here already while we also anticipate it. We stand on the shoulders of the past, and we allow God’s Spirit and our charism to guide us today and in the future.
Br. Casey Cole, OFM shared his insights on YouTube: “What exactly does it [the future of religious life] look like? I don’t know. But that’s kind of the point, right? Rather than having a concrete image; very rigid lines of what we are and aren’t; it’s a mindset of remaining open to the ways that the Gospel could reveal itself in this world in new generations. (…) From this place of our charism that we find our ministry, that we are adaptable what the world needs. We don’t get stuck into what we did before, but we look to the future: what the world needs and how God is giving the ability to provide for it.”
When talking about the future, Sr. Teresa Maya, CCVI stated in her Presidential Address to the LCWR, “Comunión ‘En Salida:’” “we will become lighter and itinerant (…) However, we will be enough; we are enough; we will be what God needs today. We will bring with us our call to community and our conviction that Christ suffering in God’s people requires our response. We will serve in small, meaningful ways, hosting the human family one person at a time.”
Our congregational motto is: “Be peace. Build peace. Preach peace.” I wish to be part of that future with a joyful hope for a more peaceful and compassionate world where God’s love prevails. Is God calling you to this life, too? If you think God is calling you for this future, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.