Introducing girls to Catholic sisters who look like them is one goal of National Catholic Sisters Week, and it was advanced in a vibrant way thanks to the nation’s oldest African American order.
On March 14, thanks to support from a NCSW mini-grant, a group of middle-school girls were able to visit the Oblate Sisters of Providence convent in Baltimore for a one-of-a-kind vocational awareness event. The gathering, billed as the 2nd Annual Oblate Sisters of Providence National Catholic Sisters Week Vocation Event, was orchestrated by Dr. Kirk Gaddy, a religion teacher at St. Francis International School in Silver Spring, Md. Last year’s inaugural event, also funded by an NCSW mini-grant, was such a sweeping success that the group decided to make it annual.
Dr. Gaddy brought about 40 students to Our Lady of Mount Providence Convent to celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week with Oblate Sisters who look like them. The students came from St. Francis International and Mother Seton Academy.
Their visit began with Mass, followed by small-group ice breakers to allow the students to get to know the sisters. Then a local storyteller named Janice Curtis Greene arrived, dressed as Mother Mary Lange, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence. Janice told Mother Mary’s story in dramatic fashion. Afterwards the students participated in a scavenger hunt to help them more closely study the motherhouse. They also participated in a bracelet-making workshop. Each bracelet had a medal with the name “Mother Mary Lange” etched on one side and the message “She knew she could so she did” on the other side.
The girls enjoyed lunch with Sisters before returning to school. They described the event as empowering and fun, Dr. Gaddy said. The visit provided a springboard for further discussion at school.