Vatican II changed the face of Catholocism for everyone – lay people and consecrated religious. What was it like to enter religious life on the heels of such a sea change?
Sr. Christine Connolly, a Dominican Sister of Peace in Niskayuna, NY, is celebrating her 50th year of religious life in 2019, and says that the changes brought about by the Council brought her both excitement and sadness.
“A new paradigm of religious life was beginning to take place, which required us to live with a sense of flexibility and a willingness to be open,” she says. “One surprise has been the blessing of helping to lay the foundation for something new and vibrant to be birthed.”
Sr. Christine began her religious life in both religious formation and formal study. She studied in the Novitiate in Kentucky for two years, then attended Cardinal Cushing College in Brookline, MA. She earned her Bachelor of Science in History and Elementary Education in 1972.
Her first ministry was in education, teaching at St. Francis DeSales and East Boston Central Catholic in Boston, MA.
In 1980 she moved to St. Catharine, KY, to serve her congregation as the Administrative Assistant to the President of the Dominican Sisters in St. Catharine, KY.
True to the Dominican charism of study, Sr. Christine earned her Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College in 1989. She took her skills in administration and organization to the service of God’s people in Louisville, working with the Hospice of Louisville and Catholic Charities,
A move to Chicago to study at the Catholic Theological Center led to Sr. Christine’s next ministry. She served as Co-Promoter of Vocations and Spiritual Director at the Claret Center in Chicago for 6 years before beginning a ministry as Residence Hall rector at the University of Notre Dame.
After a brief Sabbatical, Sr.Christine moved to her present ministry, serving those seeking spiritual direction and a place of peace at the Congregation’s Retreat Center in Niskayuna, NY.
Of her 50 years of service to God’s people, Sr.Christine says, “I have learned that the Mission is God’s work, and my responsibility is listening to and working with God’s movement in ministry. God has blessed me with the opportunity to offer hope and peace in our world today.”