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Father Muench Says...

Gratitude for the NCC and for our Sisters

March 12, 2014

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I begin today by offering my gratitude to all of you, who are my readers.  I want you to know that you are like family to me.  I think of you all, as I put together this column and I do want you to know I pray often for you all.  I am grateful for your support of the North Country Catholic.  This is the time for the annual subscription campaign for the North Country Catholic. 

The NCC has been part of the life of the Diocese of Ogdensburg for a very long time.  Your support is important – I urge you to mention the North Country Catholic to your friends in your parish.  Be sure to encourage your pastor to give his support also.  Thanks!
Today, I also want to join those throughout our country who are celebrating a special National Week in honor of Religious Sisters.  This celebration has been made a part of Women’s History Month.  Within this group, there are numerous contributions specifically that Women Religious have made to our society.

Religious Sisters have profoundly influenced the history of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.  As a priest and a teacher in Catholic high Schools, I have worked closely with many talented, brilliant teachers who are Religious Sisters. They were all excellent educators – dedicated religious, deeply spiritual woman who truly made a difference in the lives of their students.  Their lives and their teaching and their counsel touched their students and reflected their dedicated love of the Lord.

I have always had the deepest respect for the vocation of a Religious Sister.  I remember well the first time a young woman – a high school senior – visited me to talk about becoming a Religious Sister.  I was rather surprised that she was considering this vocation.  She was a public high school student – she did not even know any Sisters.  However, something attracted her to dedicate her life to the Lord, to follow in his way, to do something good for others.  She had been reading about the lives of Sisters and their life style, and was deeply impressed. She knew it was for her.

Eventually she did become a Sister – although not right away.  In college, she volunteered as a helper in a nursing home directed by the Little Sisters of the Poor.  She worked with the Sisters and got to know them.  She learned from them just what their vocation meant: the love they found in following the Lord Jesus and the happiness they found in their daily work with those in need.  My friend discovered something special in the life and dedication of the Sisters  so she asked to enter their congregation. 

She has spent her life – as a Sister – giving her life to the care of the sick and elderly in the nursing homes of the Little Sisters.  Has she changed the world?  Of course! She has brought peace and love and joy into the lives of so many because of her dedication to the Little Sisters and her love of the Lord.  She has made this world a better place for us all by her dedicated care, filled with God’s love.

This morning after Mass I was talking with the Sister of St. Joseph who serves here in our parish.  So, I asked her what I should write about the vocation and life of a Religious Sister. She began by telling me of the happiness she has found in her vocation – a happiness that came from discovering the love of the Lord Jesus and from the opportunity of helping others.  Her dedication to the Lord and her involvement in the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph has brought a great deal of joy to each day of her life.  She has found peace and satisfaction in her life and work, becoming a part of so many families in the parish and being able to help those who are in need.  I would like to add that her happiness is very evident to us all in the way she serves our parish.

She quickly added that she finds so many opportunities to help those in need so it is truly a good vocation for any young woman who would like to do something to make her life complete, her world better  and bring the love of God and message of Jesus to so many.

I finish by offering my deep respect and congratulations to all of our Religious Sisters who bring so much love and happiness into the parishes and schools and hospitals of this diocese and of our country.  I also congratulate the many Religious Sisters who are missionaries and who are going off to other places to bring God’s love and care to people of many, many other countries. 

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