SUFFERN, N.Y. – The Sisters of Life are pleased to announce our newest foundation in the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, beginning in Mid-August, 2015. This is the first mission for the New York based community in the Western United States.
Mother Agnes Mary, Superior General of the Sisters of Life, said, “We are grateful to God for the gift of a new mission in Denver, Colorado. It was from this city in 1993 that St. John Paul II exhorted those gathered for World Youth Day to defend the sacredness of human life (cf. Homily at the Eucharistic Celebration at Cherry Creek State Park of Denver). Our Sisters look forward to strengthening the Denver lay faithful committed to building a culture of life by joining our visible witness to their efforts in proclaiming the beauty and sacredness of every human life in and around the city from which those prophetic words rang.”
Founded in 1991 by the late John Cardinal O’Connor, the Sisters of Life profess a fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of every human life. A contemplative/ active community of religious women, the Sisters’ primary missions include practical assistance and outreach for pregnant women in need through the Visitation Missions in New York and Toronto, Canada; spiritual retreats for all seeking new life in Christ at the Villa Maria Guadalupe retreat house in Stamford, CT; accompanying women who have suffered the sorrow of abortion to Hope and Healing; international Evangelization; and directing Respect Life efforts for the Archdiocese of New York. The community currently has 88 members, 23 of whom are in initial formation.
The new mission in Denver will initially be one of evangelization, specifically to college students attending area Universities. Through on-going involvement with these college communities, the Sisters hope to put a face on the Church’s teachings on life and love, to encourage and catechize those who are striving to live these truths and to invite those who suffer from wounds in the areas of life and love to the mercy and peace offered by the Lord. College-age women are among the most likely to pursue abortion in the case of an unexpected pregnancy, and the presence of the Sisters on campus is also hoped to give women on these campuses a viable option for life in a time of crisis.
Sister Antoniana Maria, SV
38 Montebello Road
Suffern, NY 10901
For the past 16 years, Serra Club International has sponsored an annual Ordinandi Dinner- a large banquet and evening to support the class of deacons about to be ordained priests for the diocese of Toronto, Hamilton and Peterborough. The Ordinandi Luncheon was added 3 years ago to reach out to high school students and promote the priesthood and religious life. This year, on March 3rd, approximately 900 teenagers came from all around the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and beyond. Games were played, a delicious lunch was served, Sr. Maria Regina Immaculata and Deacon David Twaddle shared parts of their vocation stories and His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins gave a reflection. There was prayer and laughter and all around it was a beautiful day with the teens.
“Joy, true joy, is contagious…” These words of Pope Francis certainly captured the atmosphere at our convents in New York, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C., on Sunday, February 8, as we, along with Religious all over the country, welcomed hundreds of guests for the first ever National Open House Day with Religious. At Annunciation Motherhouse, visitors were waved in the driveway by rosy-cheeked novices, bundled against the cold and waving balloons & signs announcing, “Open House Today!” and “Free Hot Cocoa & Cookies!” As the driveway overflowed with cars, one amused visitor suggested, “Sisters, maybe it’s time to put away the signs…” Or, as we thought, maybe it’s time to find more parking next-door and start running a shuttle van! There’s always room for more (and we always have enough cookies)! At Visitation Convent in Manhattan, we squeezed into the chapel–triple normal capacity–to pray Evening Prayer together to close the afternoon. Visitors to all our houses participated in tours of the convent, a brief presentation on the Charism of Life and the particular mission of the Sisters at that local community, a vocation story, and Evening Prayer.
We are grateful to all who joined us to celebrate this Year for Concecrated Life. Stay tuned for future events for the Year for Consecrated Life, including holy hours, a day of service with Religious this summer (date TBD), and a Day of Prayer with Religious on September 13, 2015
The pictures below are from the open house at Annunciation Motherhouse, in Suffern, NY.
Approximately 50 young women gathered at St. Francis Retreat Centre in Orangeville, Ontario Canada for a powerful and grace-filled weekend at the “I Believe in Love” young women’s retreat. Retreatants sank into the silence and allowed the Lord to speak to them through prayer, talks by the Sisters, one-on-one meetings, Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.
The Sisters were guests of honor at a hockey game in February. Local friends and family were invited to come and support the Sisters of Life and our mission to serve vulnerable pregnant women by attending a hockey game of the St. Augustine seminarians vs men from the Peterborough diocese. Sr. Maria Regina Immaculata was chosen to drop the puck and before she did, her and Fr. Peter Marr lead both teams in their angel prayer! No one was hurt, it was a close game and Peterborough won 4-3. We’ll see if the seminarians can take it back next year.
We were again blessed to visit sunny California for the West Coast Walk for Life and surrounding events this January 24th. In addition to participating in the Walk for Life, our Sisters hosted a Mass and Prayer Vigil for Life at St. Dominic Church in San Francisco, with Mass celebrated by Bishop Daly of San Jose, CA. We also visited UC Berkeley and were present at the Students for Life of America West Coast Conference.
More photos coming soon!
See an interview with Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei and Sr. Bethany Madonna at the Walk for Life (at 10:44 in EWTN’s full coverage footage below):
Why do we go to the March for Life? To join hundreds of thousands as we pray and witness to the sacredness of every human life, that every life is a gift from God: “We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along the way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person–of every human person.” (Fr. John Richard Neuhaus)
Our Sisters were present at a multitude of other events in the D.C. area surrounding the March for Life:
Thursday, January 22
– Youth Rally & Mass for Life – Verizon Center & DC Armory
– Life is Very Good Prayer Vigil, Morning Rally & Mass, Fairfax, VA
– Jesuit Mass and Rally for Life
– Adult & Family Rally and Mass for Life
– March for Life 2015
Friday, January 23
– 2015 East Coast Students for Life of America Conference
– Latinos Por La Vida Pro-Life Conference
Saturday, January 24
– Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life at Georgetown University
More Photos Coming Soon!
Some of our Sisters rang in 2015 with about 700 university students in Calgary Alberta, singing, “O God beyond all praising, we worship you today…”
Rise Up is a conference for young adults (aged 18-35) hosted by Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO), a Canadian university student movement – but Rise Up is more than a conference. It exists to motivate and inspire leaders for the renewal of the world.
This year’s theme: “Revive This Generation”
10,000 College Students + Jesus + FOCUS & 20 Sisters of Life + 5 grace-filled days in Nashville = SEEK2015!
Presented by FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students), SEEK2015 brought together thousands of college students & young adults, many families and dozens of priests and religious brothers & sisters, for 5 days of dynamic speakers, the daily celebration of Mass, Adoration and Confession, and plenty of music and laughter to top it all off–but ultimately to seek the face of Jesus and the purpose and JOY that comes in knowing and loving Him!
The Sisters of Life were excited to participate in SEEK in myriad ways, especially through presenting the You&Me Exhibit (a multi-media exhibit of life-changing stories of courage and grace), the launching of The Life App (jointly developed by FOCUS and the Sisters of Life), as speakers in the women’s session (watch Sr. Mary Gabriel’s talk below) and impact sessions, and in our countless beautiful conversations and encounters.
Fearless Hearts: Seek What Moves You Towards Freedom – Women’s Session Keynote by Sr. Mary Gabriel, S.V.
On December 20, chatter and laughter rang through the air all afternoon in a church hall in Manhattan, as we hosted our annual Christmas party for the mothers and children served through the Visitation Mission this year. Co-workers, volunteers, and Knights of Columbus helped set the scene with thousands of red and green balloons and a delicious catered dinner. But the afternoon’s highlight for the Sisters and the moms was watching all the kids perform a Nativity play, complete with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and the Star leading the way.