- Candace Neff Director
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Religious Sisters Honored, Vocations Encouraged
Two gatherings were held this month in the Diocese of Gaylord to both honor the religious sisters serving in our 21 counties and to encourage young women to consider this wonderful calling. The events were initiated through the diocesan Vocations Office and made possible, in part, by contributions to the Catholic Services Appeal. Religious sisters from all around the diocese were in attendance as honorees on April 10, joining a morning event hosted by St. Helen parish in St. Helen or the evening session held at St. Mary Cathedral parish in Gaylord. The guest speaker was Sr. Esther Mary Nickel, RSM, who hails from the same home parish in Ida, Michigan as Fr. Don Geyman, who currently serves as Gaylords Vocations Director. Sr. Nickel spoke about the importance of vowed religious life in the history of the Church. She traced the origins of religious life to its beginnings with the desert monks and the witness of the early martyrs in giving their lives for the Gospel of Christ. Sister also pointed out that our society in the United States owes much to the work of religious brothers and sisters, especially in the areas of education and health care. Another key point stressed by Sr. Nickel was that all of the baptized are called to live out the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience in some form, depending on their particular vocation in life. Religious sisters and brothers are called to image God in the world in a particular way, through the virtue of charity. Sister spoke about religious formation as a continuation of the formation we begin at home with our parents. The first stage is postulancy, which comes from the word postulate: to question. It is an initial exploration of the calling to this particular life and community. The next step is the novitiate, in which the novice learns and practices the lifestyle of a religious. Sr. Barbara Matievich, OP, of St. Helen offered the analogy of drivers training, where one learns under an experienced mentor. Following the novitiate are temporary vows. Final vows are professed when a sister or brother is ready to make a permanent commitment to the community and the way of life. The other sisters present as honorees expressed their joy in this vocation and invited the young women present to be consider it as a possibility for their lives. They advised that the first step at any age is to be generous with God, even before you have a sense of what your particular calling may be. For more information regarding Vocations, please contact Fr. Don Geyman at 989.732.5147 or click on the "Vocations" link on the left.