The theme for the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal is “Standing Together to Build the Future”. Each month we will feature a group who supports our Diocesan Ministries by following this motto through their good works.
The best way to describe the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church is… one group, many ‘great works’! While the Sisters of Charity are united as one religious order, their work can be seen and felt across the many communities that encompass the Diocese of Norwich. It was hard to decide where to begin writing about the Sisters because all of the areas they serve are equally important.
If you (or a family member) attended school in Connecticut at St. Joseph School, Baltic; Sacred Heart School, Taftville; St. Mary-St. Joseph School, Willimantic; St. John School, Old Saybrook; St. Joseph School, North Grosvenordale; St. Patrick Cathedral School, Norwich; or The Academy of the Holy Family, Baltic; a Sister of Charity played a role in your education. Sisters serving in the teaching apostolate either have or are working toward their Masters Degrees in aspects of education or administration. The philosophy of education that the Sisters of Charity embrace involves the recognition of youth as the future of the Church and of our nation, students who need to be formed spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically in order to be effective witnesses of Christ to others.
The Academy of the Holy Family is considered the ‘flagship school’. Founded in 1874, this institution has been serving local students as well as students from around the world since it was established. Sister M. Kateri, SCMC describes the school,
“At the academy of the Holy Family, an international secondary school for girls, the Sisters have the privilege of evangelizing Buddhist, Protestant and un-churched young women as they learn about the beauty and mercy of God for the first time, as revealed through the Catholic Church. The Light of Faith reaches in to the souls of many students who are seeking the Truth and whose lives are enriched by the witness of fellow students, teachers and Sisters as they live out the Gospel of Jesus.”
It is a unique school that is making a profound impact on the lives of students.
In imitation of Christ, the Sisters of Charity serve the people of God in their spiritual and temporal needs. The Sisters and the communities they serve have become a “family”. The Holy Family Food Pantry, located at Holy Family Motherhouse, provides food and fellowship to dozens of residents in Sprague, CT. The Sisters are a spiritual support for the local community. Sister Therese Maria (a novice who serves in the Food Pantry) expressed,
“Through the Holy Family Food Pantry, we share in each other's joys and sufferings, giving hope where there seems to be none. Every person who enters the door of the Holy Family Food Pantry is greeted with love, drawing us all closer to Love Himself!”
The Sisters of Charity are reaching out to our Hispanic/Latino brothers and sisters to nourish their faith and to minister to them within the context of their cultural values and religious traditions. Hispanic Ministry while respecting and valuing the cultural differences of each group, strives to promote effective integration into the mainstream of their parishes and society.
The Sisters of Charity also operate the Holy Family Home and Shelter located in Willimantic, CT. The Shelter, a non-profit organization, is a 28 bed home and shelter for mothers and children, and fathers who meet certain criteria. Residents are provided with all basic needs of food, clothing and shelter along with holiday assistance of food and gifts. Children receive after school tutoring for homework, as well as field trips to museums and historical places to widen the horizons of both parents and children. The Shelter offers an atmosphere where dignity is restored and opportunities for successful transition to sustainable housing are provided.
Summers are brighter for girls ages 11-15 who attend the Holy Family Summer Camp. Last year (2017), the Sisters reinstated a five day camp and honored Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima with the theme:
“In the End, My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph” – Mary’s words to all of us as we endeavor to live our Catholic Faith in today’s culture.
The Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church touch many lives across our communities through education, feeding the hungry, Hispanic Ministry, Holy Family Shelter and Summer Camp. They are also helping in unseen ways through their prayers. The Sisters of Charity are united, Standing Together to Build the Future, keeping our faith, our Church and our communities strong!
Thank you to all of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church! Your support and the support of others allow our ministries to continue their service to our community. Thank you for “Standing Together to Build the Future” of the Diocese of Norwich!
To learn more about the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church please visit their website at: www.sistersofcharity.com