Catholic sisters unite in St. Paul

Sister Ann Oestreich, IHM; Sister Mary Pellegrino, CSJ; and Sister Carolyn Puccio, CSJ

More than 100 women religious from Minnesota gathered Aug. 25 to participate in a communal book club facilitated by Sister Mary Pellegrino, CSJ. She gave context to the lively discussion on changes in religious life, sharing research from Pew Research Center and The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

“I thought it was really interesting,” said Archbishop Bernard Hebda, who joined the Catholic sisters gathered at St. Catherine University. “I’ve been a big fan of Sister Mary’s for a long time, so it was good to have her with us here.”

Some of the Catholic sisters voiced their curiosity about the younger generation of women joining religious life and opting for habits and other conservative measures. Sister Mary Pellegrino’s response: They don’t assign the same meaning to those expressions that we do. Ask for their thinking and reasoning. Engage in dialogue.

The event was planned by Sister Carolyn Puccio, CSJ, the Delegate for Consecrated Life for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a partner diocese of the National Catholic Sisters Project.

“I was delighted at the number and diversity of people who were able to engage with Sister Mary in reflection and conversation about the vitality of religious life in a changing world,” Sister Carolyn said. “It was also a wonderful opportunity for our women religious and their guests to connect with one another and create new bonds of friendship -- so important in an archdiocese as large as ours.”

Video of the gathering is available here, beginning at the 9:00 minute mark.

About Christina Capecchi

Christina Capecchi is an award-winning journalist from Inver Grove Heights, Minn. She is the author of the nationally syndicated column “Twenty Something,” which appears in more than 50 Catholic newspapers across the country. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, America, The Chicago Tribune, The Star Tribune and The Pioneer Press. She also provides contracted editing and writing services. She holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s from Mount Mercy University.