Later today, the Sisters of Life will have a small Mass in thanksgiving for the founding of their religious community 30 years ago today in (relatively) upstate New York. It’s amazing to me that something so beautiful has been founded in my lifetime. Over 100 women have dedicated their lives to this beautiful charism to protect human life. It’s about so much more than abortion and assisted suicide and other violence against the human person. It’s about love.
Not too long ago, I was talking with a 17-year-old girl who had started the chemical abortion process. She was willing to speak to the Sisters, who could help her reverse the effects of the first pill. She smiled as I suggested she let them love her, whatever her decision wound up being. That’s who they are. God’s love in a world of screaming about abortion. They bring His peace and give girls and women a chance to breathe and find healing, sometimes decades after abortion.
This is from an email the Sisters sent out this morning, which captures why I love them so and encourage everyone to get to know them and support them:
We are overjoyed at the Lord’s abundant kindness and mercy at ushering the Charism of Life into the world, that each person may know the immeasurable sacredness and beauty of their soul. Each Sister of Life who has made vows wears a medal inscribed with words from a favorite poem of our founder: “I Sing of a Maiden” by Fr. John Duffy, CSsR. “And nothing would again be casual or small.” When God became Man, “nothing would again be casual or small, but everything with light invested, over-spilled with terror and divinity.” Now, every human experience has meaning in the plan of God. No ounce of suffering escapes His merciful gaze. Each person is a wonder to be loved and delighted in. Nothing — and no one — is casual or small, because Christ is Lord of all.
Knowing the Sisters means new insight on our lives and the lives of others. I’m enchanted and challenged by those words from Fr. Duffy on the Annunciation. If nothing again is casual and small, why do we go about our days treating people casually? Thinking and acting as if they aren’t the most important person in the world? Christ’s Incarnation is for each and every one of us. Believers in Christianity or not, each person was made by Love in love for love.
This is a reflection from their founder, Cardinal John O’Connor about their lives, which they also sent out today in their “30 Years of Grace” email:
Mary had conceived the Word of God beneath her heart, that Word who was one with God from all eternity, that Word that had been placed in the Ark of the Covenant. That word is now in Mary’s womb. For this reason, “Nothing would again be casual or small, but everything with light invested, over-spilled with terror and divinity.”
This to me is the meaning of the consecrated life. This is what the vows do. The person who opens her heart, her mind, her womb as it were, to the Word of God, will find that nothing again will ever be casual or small, but everything will be invested with light and over-spilled with divinity, because the Word is the light of the world. The Word illumines everything with new being. You cannot receive the Word fully, so that it becomes flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood, and still look at the world in the same way. Above all, you cannot fully receive the Word yourself and look at any other human being as you did before. Everything is now over-spilled with terror and divinity. Everything is illuminated.
Beyond the Sisters, his reflection reminds me of the message Pope Benedict handed me in October 2012 for all the women of the world. It wasn’t a new message, but one that if we took seriously, would be a resplendent game-changer:
But the hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is under-going so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid mankind in not falling.
Women, you do know how to make truth sweet, tender and accessible. . . . Women of the entire universe, whether Christian or non-believing, you to whom life is entrusted at this grave moment in history, it is for you to save the peace of the world.
The Sisters are living this life and then some. They deserve our prayers and support. We should know them, help them, celebrate them, and let people know about them. They remind us that our lives are not casual or small, and that no one’s is.
Do support the Sisters of Life — our pro-life credibility — if you can.
And please get to know them — and share something of them today.
There are many YouTube videos here.
There’s a podcast here.
There are stories you can read here.
And there is more, if you explore their website.