Discernment Question Series: Is There Something That You Would Like Every Young Catholic Woman to Know?

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

March 07, 2024

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Marcolette Madden responds to a discernment question raised by a young adult Catholic woman.

Is there something that you would like every young Catholic woman to know? For example, about living the faith, discerning vocation, about Jesus, etc.?

The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity were my piano instructors and teachers for grades one through eight while I attended St. Agnes School in Mingo Junction, Ohio.  Back then I assumed all women who joined a religious order would automatically serve God through teaching.

Years later I learned that some women became nurses and hospital administrators.  More recently, as the religious order continues to respond to the needs of the Church, the Sisters have served as parish directors, grief counselors, and spiritual directors. 

While the diversity of ministries surprised me, I was also extremely curious:  What was the main mission of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity?  What held them together?  As their founder, St. Francis of Assisi would say, their unifying purpose is “to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  For this reason, it’s who they are as Franciscan consecrated women that defines them, more than the work they do for the Church.

While I was in high school my family often invited the eight Sisters to our home for picnics.  It was eye-opening to see them in a setting other than the classroom. Their individuality came through while they competed in badminton, roasted hot dogs, shared personal stories, and offered differing view on the upcoming mayoral election.  My perception that the Sisters were all “cut from the same mold” didn’t match reality.   

Gaining an understanding of religious life has been an enlightening journey.





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