In thanksgiving for those in consecrated life
Consecrated women and men are a tremendous blessing to our Diocese of Lansing. This is because each one of them has made a radical gift of self for the love of Jesus, for the love of the Church and for the love of the world. We need those who are willing to go the full length of giving themselves to Christ.
Seven virgins have been consecrated in our diocese who continue to live their lives in the world while being brides of Jesus Christ in our midst.
Brothers who belong to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, the Congregation of the Holy Cross (think Notre Dame), and the institute of Alma Redemptoris Mater (ARM) live and serve within our diocesan boundaries. The ARM is a home-grown community in Genesee County.
A number of the priests serving in our parishes belong to religious communities, such as the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, the Order of St. Maron, the Jesuits, the Servants of Charity, the Order of St. Augustine, the Order of St. Dominic, the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (from India), the Sulpicians, the PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) missionaries and the Congregation of the Holy Cross. In addition to their services as ordained priests, these men also have made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience – and often other vows specific to their own communities. Our diocese could not minister to all of our people without their service. In addition, the very consecration of their lives enriches us with their radical dedication to Christ.
Women religious have made countless contributions to our Church and our world for centuries. Not only have they provided educational, pastoral, spiritual and basic human ministries within our diocese, but the very consecration of their lives in imitation of Jesus Christ is profound. In a world that is so consumeristic, so overly sexualized and so lacking in respect for authority, these women, along with the consecrated men mentioned above, have vowed to try to be as poor as Jesus, as chaste as Jesus and as obedient to the will of the Father as Jesus. We are grateful.
The Sister of St. Dominic, Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary in Adrian have been, and remain, an incredible blessing for us. A more recent addition to our diocese has been the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, another Dominican community, located in Ann Arbor. The Servants of God’s Love, in Ann Arbor, grew out of the charismatic movement in that city. The Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, in Chelsea, are especially devoted to ecumenical outreach. The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, located in Grass Lake, assist at the Pious Union of St. Joseph. The Passionist Sisters, in Lansing, provide wonderful ministries in our Spanish-speaking parishes. The Religious Sisters of Mercy, whose mother-house is in Alma, have a house in DeWitt, as well. In addition to these principal communities, many members of other communities also serve the people of our diocese.
Pope John Paul II wrote a letter on consecrated life, Vita Consecrata, in 1996. He noted that the basis of consecrated life is that Jesus “called them not only to welcome the kingdom of God into their lives, but also to put their lives at its service, leaving everything behind and closely imitating his own way of life.” (#14.1) To do this is to receive a special gift of the Holy Spirit. Thus, these sisters and brothers of ours “make visible the marvels wrought by God in the frail humanity” that is theirs and ours. (#20.1)
It is therefore appropriate for us to give thanks to God for this blessing to our humanity and thanks to our consecrated sisters and brothers for allowing themselves to be the instruments of God’s action in our midst.