On Saturday, September 29, 2012, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge met with consecrated Women Religious of the Diocese for Sisters’ Appreciation Day, an annual day of prayer, dialogue and recognition of the role Sisters play in spreading God’s Word and serving His people. The event, held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Raleigh, began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Burbidge. Concelebrating were Fr. John Forbes, Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, and Fr. Don Maloney, Parochial Vicar.
In his homily, the Bishop noted that it was the Feast Day of the Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, “whose names convey to us three important qualities that must be reflected in the lives of those who give their lives in service to the Lord and His people: protector, communicator and healer.”
He spoke of the untruths and destructive voices, “endless temptations and empty promises” from which those we serve need to be protected. “The source of the protection is the Truth,” the Bishop continued, “which we convey to each other by our credible witness.”
Like St. Gabriel, who announced to Mary that she would give birth to a savior, we need “to convince those we serve that, above all else, they are God’s beloved…chosen for a special purpose.”
St. Raphael is known as the healer, the Bishop concluded, and “In this Year of Faith, we are called to reach out to those who are most in need of healing.”
After the homily, the Bishop installed the officers and members of the Council of Women Religious in the Diocese of Raleigh. The officers are Sr. Barbara Marie Cady, SU, Chair; Sr. Shirley Simpson, CSC, Vice-Chair; Sr. Mary Jean Korejwo, SND, Secretary; and Sr. Mary Agnes Ryan, IHM, Treasurer. The other members are Sr. Mary Ann Czaja, SA; Sr. Laura Downing, IHM; Sr. Carol Loughney, IHM; Sr. Ruth Perl, SND; Sr. Maxine Tancraitor, CDP; and Sr. Joanna Walsh, FCJ.
Following the Mass, the Sisters gathered for a discussion with the Bishop, each speaking in turn about the challenges they confront in their ministries, and the Bishop responding. Luncheon followed the discussion.
The Council of Women Religious works with and for the women Religious in the Diocese, promoting spiritual, communal, and professional development, and provides counsel to the Bishop. Their goals include promoting Vocations and Vocation Awareness and coordinating the annual Mass of Thanksgiving in Celebration of Consecrated Life, at which time Religious marking jubilee anniversaries are recognized.
There are currently 43 Women Religious in the Diocese, representing 19 Religious Congregations.
Information on the Council of Women Religious, including Religious Orders serving in the Diocese and information on the Orders, is available at http://www.raleighcouncilofreligious.org
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Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge installing officers and members of the Diocesan Council of Women Religious. Click photo to view larger.