One of the misconceptions about religious life that I often correct is that all non-contemplative Sisters are teachers or nurses. Some young women I talk to are interested in religious life but aren’t familiar with modern sisterhood. They are usually excited to find out that women committing themselves to God can serve Him and His people in a variety of careers. Sisters can pursue careers in education, law, medicine, parish ministry, social work and more.
However, in the context of religious life, these paths are much more than just careers — they are ministries. Recently, I have spoken with a woman who is interested in ecology; another in finance; and another in veterinary medicine. All are intrigued by Precious Blood spirituality, which calls consecrated women to be a life-giving, reconciling presence and to serve wherever and however they are needed. This spiritualty speaks to each individual and beckons her to a ministry where her gifts and others’ needs align.
I think women are also excited to find out that religious Sisters acknowledge the importance of work in the secular world. Ministry within the church, as catechists, chaplains, musicians and pastoral ministers, is an important and vital part of religious life; Sisters can also bring the light of Christ into the world, regardless of their profession. Accountant, artist, chemist, engineer — anything is possible, and any path can be pursued for the glory of God.
Story by Jenna Legg
Sister Joanne Belloli works as a mental health/substance abuse therapist in Howell, Michigan; Rich Kalonick photo.