Responding to Pope Francis’ expectations for the Year of Consecrated Life that, “Where there are religious, there is joy,” the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph are expanding their vocation ministries to the states where they serve.
When Sister Martha Keller completed more than four years as director of vocation ministry in January, Ursuline leadership decided to pursue a community-wide call to vocations. Rather than a single sister serving as vocation minister, sisters in every diocese where Ursulines serve will have the chance to witness the life of an Ursuline for any woman considering religious life.
A letter sent to the sisters in April from Sister Sharon Sullivan, congregational leader, said, “Each of us has always been and is called to continue to serve as a vocation minister for the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph.”
Sister Julia Head, assistant congregational leader, will continue to serve as the Council Contact for vocations. She will continue to respond to direct inquiries about membership in the Ursuline Sisters, such as those generated by advertisements with Vision Vocation Network, which operates a website that helps guide those curious about religious life to communities that may be a match.
Anyone Sister Julia contacts who states an interest in learning more about the Ursuline Sisters may be referred to sisters considered “vocation connectors.” These sisters will reach out to the woman in question to perhaps suggest gathering for a meal, an invitation to prayer or other efforts to offer hospitality and a greater awareness of the Ursuline Sisters.
If the person is interested in learning more beyond these initial meetings, she will be introduced to Sister Martha, who has agreed to be the director of the Contact Program. Those in the Contact Program who remain interested in the Ursulines could later make application to become a postulant.
The following Ursuline Sisters have volunteered to be vocation connectors for the area listed:
- Sister Vivian Bowles (western Kentucky, Evansville, Ind., and Nashville, Tenn.)
- Sister Kathleen Condry (eastern Kansas, western Missouri, southern Nebraska and northern Oklahoma)
- Sister Alicia Coomes (Union, Crittenden and Webster counties in Kentucky)
- Sister Michael Marie Friedman (western Kentucky)
- Sister Cecelia Joseph Olinger (southern Missouri)
- Sister Rose Jean Powers (Owensboro and nearby areas)
- Sister Sharon Sullivan (international inquiries)
Another way for the sisters to serve the vocation efforts is by being a “diocesan vocation contact.” These sisters have agreed to be the person designated to receive information on behalf of the Ursulines from any diocesan vocation office, Sister Sharon said. Sister Rosanne Spalding will serve as the contact for the Diocese of Owensboro, and also volunteered to serve on Owensboro’s Diocesan Vocation Team.
These are the other sisters who will serve as vocation contacts, and the dioceses they are serving. Many of these sisters will also serve as vocation connectors in the area they serve:
- Sister Karla Kaelin, Archdiocese of Louisville
- Sister Pat Lynch, Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan.
- Sister Dianna Ortiz, Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
- Sister Marilyn Mueth, Diocese of Belleville, Ill.
- Sister Mary Ellen Backes, Diocese of Springfield, Ill.
- Sister Carol Shively, Diocese of Shreveport, La.
- Sister Evelyn Latham, Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn.
- Sister Nancy Liddy, Archdiocese of St. Louis
- Sister Sara Marie Gomez, Diocese of Gallup, N.M.
- Sister Michele Morek, Archdiocese of New York
Sister Nancy Murphy is the director of formation for the community, Sister Mary Henning is director of postulants and Sister Ann McGrew is the director of novices.