How We Are In Ministry

“ … As vowed women of the Church, we respond with diverse gifts in a spirit of collaboration and of mutual service to the needs of others, especially the economically poor, the marginal, and the oppressed …”

(Excerpt–Mission Statement, General Chapter, 1986)

One of the ways we further the mission of our congregation is through our diverse ministries. As Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, we are called in our Commitment Statement to: “… ‘rebuild the Church’ by living the passion of the Gospel …”

“… take the necessary risks to be a healing, compassionate presence in our violent world especially with women, children, and those who have no voice …”

(Excerpt—Commitment Statement, General Chapter, 1996)

Each sister discerns with the congregation how she can best serve God, the congregation, and the people of God. Furthering the congregation’s mission with the blessing of the congregation and with a loving heart and spirit is to be in ministry.

Sisters “rebuild the Church” through the following ministries:

  • Parish ministry
  • Religious education (all levels)
  • Spiritual ministry and retreats
  • Diocesan ministry
  • Education (all levels)
  • Social ministry

Sisters “take the necessary risks to be a healing, compassionate presence in our violent world” by ministering in the following areas:

  • Healthcare
  • Eldercare
  • Social ministry
  • Pastoral ministry
  • Counseling
  • Advocacy
  • Immigration
  • Homelessness
  • AIDS ministry
  • Caregiving

Sisters’ Gifts and Contributions Recognized

Over the years our sisters have served in many types of ministries. When the need arose, we responded whenever it was possible. Although we no longer serve in some of these same ministries today—or perhaps do so in different capacities—the influence of those early sisters is still felt. Echoes of that influence were heard in recent celebrations on both the east and west coasts.

Sister Corda Honor Society at the Catholic High School of Baltimore

During Sister Corda Marie Bergbauer’s 14 years at the Catholic High School of Baltimore (1956-1970), she taught English, served as chair of the English Department, and was advisor of the TCHS newspaper, The Highway. Recently she received a letter from members of the school’s current English department telling her about the school’s newly initiated National English Honor Society and informing her that they had chosen to name it the Sister Corda Marie Bergbauer Chapter of the National English Honor Society in honor of her years of dedicated service. She was invited to attend the first induction ceremony. In addressing the students, Sister Corda thanked them for the honor and recalled some of her own experiences in TCHS. She closed her comments by reminding them of the values Catholic High continues to hold dear. “You, too, like me, will leave TCHS,” she said, “but may TCHS never leave you.”

Hand-made Prayer Pillows

Sister Margaret Xavier Romans was recently acknowledged in the October edition of the St. Anthony Messenger for her latest endeavor. When not working in her regular ministry, Sister Margaret enjoys designing and creating prayer pillows for those who are sick or in difficult situations. “This ministry is the outgrowth of just being aware of the needs of others and using something as simple as a pillow to let the other person know that he or she is not alone but is held in prayer in a special way,” she explained in the article. The pillow-making process is a very thought-out one. She first chooses a fabric in the person’s favorite color, attaches a cross-stitched block with the person’s name and its meaning, and sends it along with a personalized card. She once had a student request that she make a pillow for her father who was a U.S. Army sergeant on his way to Afghanistan. Sister Margaret made a pocket-size pillow and sent it over. She later received a card of gratitude from the U.S. Army along with her very own encased American flag and certificate. The article written by Rita Piro concludes with a quote from Sister Margaret stating, “Having a ministry that reaches so many and which has brought so much joy and consolation is a dream come true. I hope and pray that others will come up with their own version of a way to reach out to those in need.”