As the Year of Mercy nears its conclusion, Pope Francis is urging women religious to keep writing the Gospel of mercy. By all accounts, they are.
Catholic sisters are “living writers of the Gospel,” the pope said during a recent Mass. That means they help bring about a church that “goes into the world.” True disciples “love to take risks and set out, not limited to trails already blazed, but open and faithful to the paths pointed out by the Spirit,” Pope Francis said.
Those who consecrate themselves to Jesus, he added, draw life from the experience of forgiveness and “pour it out with compassion on our brothers and sisters. Jesus wants hearts that are open and tender toward the weak, never hearts that are hardened.”
Indeed, National Catholic Sisters Week is invigorated year round by the mercy sisters pour out with tender, open hearts. Sister Agnes Marie Baer, CSJ, worked for 20 years in street ministry, helping women recover from prostitution and move into “a fuller life,” she told a SisterStory oral historian. Sister Joan Brown, OSF, has made it her mission to protect the earth, she shared with a St. Kate’s student in a podcast released earlier this year.
The Visitation sisters of Minneapolis have walked with their neighbors to help multiple mothers find forgiveness after the murder of their children. Sister Evelyn Brokish learned profound lessons about mercy growing up on a dairy farm, and decades later she doled out kindness at her chocolate shop, making truffles, turtles and caramel-filled treats that draw customers from far and wide.
At age 86, Sister Rosalind Gefre, CSJ, still pours out mercy through her healing touch and listening ear, giving massages during the St. Paul Saints minor-league baseball games.
The Year of Mercy ends on Nov. 20, the feast of Christ the King. As that date nears – and far beyond – we hope you’ll continue to share your stories of Catholic sisters bringing mercy to a wounded world. We vow to do the same!