“I witnessed the nuns being happy.”
That was a thought conveyed to me, and to others around me, in my recent trips to Ruma (IL), Wichita (KS), and Columbia (PA) to visit sisters around the country. Not just that thought in general, but those words exactly. And, for that matter, it’s something I experienced myself in both my days at the Mission Center in St. Louis and in my travels. I witness the nuns being happy.
When those words were uttered more than a couple of times by the sisters I had the pleasure of visiting, they were used in the context of one of many reasons they felt called to join the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. I took these trips just weeks after being brought on as the Regional Director of Communications for the Adorers, and truthfully had no idea what to expect. It didn’t take too long for me to realize that what I was seeing, learning, and experiencing was something worth sharing. There are countless other reasons, of course, that bring the sisters to choose to live as they do.
Many are simply called by God. They feel a calling, they are pulled towards service, pulled towards advocacy, pulled towards a desire to be a part of healing and preserving the earth. No matter why the calling takes place, there is a consistency in the message and how the sisters live. And overwhelmingly what I have witnessed while working with the Adorers is that they all regularly exude joy, they are an encouraging group of individuals, and they are constantly searching for ways to both contribute to and better society and the people around them.
While traveling to each of our communities, I came across so many different personalities, so many stories, so much laughter, so much joy. Every member of the community – in each city – was warm, welcoming, constantly pleasant, willing to share their life stories, happy to talk about their lives both before joining the Adorers and life ever since, and gave me so much insight into what led them to a life as an Adorer.
While things have changed a lot over the years, the places these sisters live and worship are different now than in the past, there seems to be a constant theme – a life dedicated to the mission they’ve chosen. While some of the sisters have now retired from nursing, education, or another path in life, some are still very active in missions, work, and activism. Witnessing the passion they have for Christ, the enthusiasm they bring to their mission, and their amazing attitude towards life in general is so inspiring, and gave me such insight into what future visits will look like.
I also found myself amazed with the energy that fills many of our sisters, including on a tour of Newman University where I found myself barely able to keep up with the tour that was being led with the amount of energy I barely had 30 years ago. Yet even as the years continue to pass, it hasn’t slowed down many of the Adorers in any way.
Along with amazing energy, one of the first things that seemed could present a challenge early on in my tenure was the closing of our Ruma Center. After 146 years, our sisters were going to leave Ruma – and the potential for great sadness, push back, fear, and a myriad of other emotions were not just possible, but likely. And not just from the local community, but from our sisters as well. But as it turned out, my job to help to get this story out was much less of an ordeal than it otherwise could have been if not for the grace of the sisters. With multiple news outlets wanting to visit the campus and our sisters, the opportunity to express displeasure, unhappiness, or even anger may have presented itself. But with grace and humbleness, the sisters expressed a sad, but understanding outlook on the move. Instead of focusing on the potential downside, they focused on the future, on the positives, and made my job much easier with the candid optimism surrounding a potential upheaval.
I am, of course, also privileged to work with many Adorers on a daily basis in the U.S. Region Mission Center in St. Louis. Here, in this environment, you see how hard both sisters and lay people work on furthering the mission. The work ethic and passion with which our sisters approach each day is inspiring, and that enthusiasm rubs off. It is truly a joy.
And every day, I witness the nuns being happy.
If you want to see photos and more stories about our sisters, please visit our website at www.adorers.org