Bishop Schlert Celebrates World Day of Consecrated Life

The Church celebrated the World Day of Consecrated Life on Friday, February 2nd. This important day was instituted by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1997, calling for a day of prayer for men and women in Consecrated Life. 

Recognizing the significance of this day, Bishop Alfred A. Schlert celebrated a special Mass for the Consecrated Sisters in the Diocese of Allentown and invited them to attend brunch afterward. The Mass was held at St. Thomas More, Allentown, and was concelebrated by the Very Reverend Jerome Tauber, Vicar for Religious. 

“Fr. Tauber, Fr. Mathur, Fr. Maas, and I - we welcome each one of you,” said Bishop Schlert. “Each of us are products of Catholic education by Religious, and it is not lost on us the importance of Religious Life in the Church. We are so grateful for that.”

“All of us received a call from the Lord and a call specific to us that was in God’s plan before we were born. Just as the Blessed Mother was set aside, we were also prefigured to share in our Lord’s work in the heart of the Church.”

Referencing the encounter between the Blessed Mother and Simeon, Bishop reminded the sisters of the joy in the initial words of Simeon, which were quickly tempered by a warning of sacrifices to come. “She probably couldn’t comprehend them all not knowing the future, and when we contemplate our own lives, isn’t that part of all our vocations?”

“We see Simeon and his prophecy and how he dedicated his life to discern God's will. When the Lord came, he recognized Him. And so, we pray that we can also recognize the Lord in a disagreeable personality that we have to deal with, a knock at our door, and we embrace it because it is Jesus.”

Bishop Schlert invited the sisters to recognize the gift of their vocation. “We are privileged to have a life of immense graces that sometimes come in the form of sacrifice and hardship.”

At the conclusion of his homily, he thanked the sisters for following their call and encouraged them to never give up hope in praying for new vocations saying, “Don’t give in to fatalism. Pray and they will come.”

Immediately following Mass, blessed candles were given to the sisters. The World Day of Consecrated Life is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. Those in Consecrated Life are similarly called to reflect the light of Jesus to all people. 

Afterwards, the sisters enjoyed brunch with Bishop Schlert, who made time to visit each order’s table and share a laugh over pancakes and bacon. 

Sisters from each order shared their vocation stories, recalling the day they first felt God’s call. They also spoke about the beauty of their lives and offered advice for women considering Religious Life.

“I was 9 years old,” explained Sister Clarisse Uwera CPS, from the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. “I went to a festival, and I saw a nun.” She continued, “When I saw that nun I said, ‘wow, I wish to be like her!’ Seeing how she looked – humble, taking care of children. I wished to be like her.” 

“My parents used to fill our car with sisters when I was a young girl. I began to see them as one of us,” said Sr. Rose Teresa Dvorak of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. She also advised women discerning Religious Life to spend time with the sisters and become associated with them.

Sr. Rose Jameson of the Bernadine Franciscan Sisters in Reading first encountered a sister when she was 7 years old. “I saw their joy, and began working with them making spumoni, an Italian ice cream.” Sr. Rose would also spend time with the sisters while her aunt and uncle would drive them to the convent.

Religious life is “the best kept secret,” said Sr. Bernadette McCauley of the Sisters of Christian Charity. “We may not be as visible, but we are present. We show the world that there is a deeper meaning to life.”

Sister Clarisse Uwera encouraged young women who are considering a vocation to the religious, saying, “Do not be afraid. If you feel the call, take the first step. If you don’t take the first step, you won’t know what is there.”

Sister Danielle Marie Kubelsky of the Bernadine Franciscan Sisters concluded, “You’ll never be alone if you join a community.”

The joy surrounding the sisters was contagious. Warm smiles, carefree laughter, and the overwhelming sense of strong community radiated from the attendees. As they shared profound stories of personal conversion, they simultaneously made jokes and enjoyed each other's company. The time spent with the sisters was effortless, fun, and inspiring. 

By Lina Tavarez and Lillian Fallon.


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