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Amanda Houska

About Amanda Houska

Amanda is a co-founder as well as the leading lady at Imagine Sisters. She wears long skirts and works long hours, but she's always down for silly jokes, strong coffee and craft beer. When not working for Imagine Sisters, you can find her in the development office for the Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R. Lets just say, she really loves nuns and is even open to being one some day!

We NEED priests!

We need priests!”

You’ve almost certainly heard this comment before. Maybe you heard it in a homily, at a vocations event, or from someone at your parish. You may even have said it once or twice yourself.

As a seminarian studying for the priesthood, I know I certainly hear it a lot – nearly every week, in fact! The truth is, we do need priests, because we desperately need the grace of the Sacraments only they can provide for the Church. We need Christ’s presence, both in the priest themselves and in the immense gift of the Masses they offer.

I’m glad we recognize this, most especially when I see how many other men are invited to consider the priesthood for the first time, just because someone saw the need for holy priests and took the chance of encouraging him.

As one of those guys, though – the ones being invited and formed for a vocation to the priesthood – I want to tell you about the unsung heroes in my own journey of discernment and formation: Religious sisters. I always met these women in unexpected times and places, and I was always surprised by the humility and quiet joy they radiated without speaking a word.

I remember the first time I met one of the sisters, when, three years ago – give or take a week – she and several of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia showed up for Eucharistic Adoration at my campus ministry.

Two years of discernment and one seminary application later, the same sister stopped me on the sidewalk in Washington, DC . . . to tell me that she’d been praying for me since I began discerning the priesthood.

Many of these women have inspired me to try to be a better person than I am. A few have legitimately changed my life.

The Poor Clare, barely noticed in her rural cloister, who quietly supports me through her prayers.

The Missionary of Charity who wakes up every day to make dozens of beds and wash the dishes, who handed me a mop and told me with broken English and an eloquent smile, “By doing, you learn.”

The many, many friends who are so willing to hear Christ’s invitation to live as His brides, and to offer Him their lives and vocations.

Yes, we need priests.

What you won’t hear as often, though, is this:

Priests (and seminarians) need sisters.

They are our spiritual mothers, who devote themselves to praying for us, as flawed and human as we are, so that we might one day be able to bring Christ to the world in a very real way. They are witnesses to the true joy we can find in giving ourselves totally and completely to God and His Church. They are the ones who hold us up and keep us going with their sacrifices.

God has given these women a crucial mission, but as much as we need their intercession and support, they need ours, too. If we want to create a culture that will nourish their vocations, we need to pray for our religious sisters and discerners, support the people and organizations –like Imagine Sisters – who exist to show the world the beauty of the consecrated life, and invite others to do the same.

We like to say, “One sister can change the world.”

I know they’ve certainly changed mine.

– Cassidy Stinson is a Seminarian for the Diocese of Richmond, currently in 1st Theology at Theological College and the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

 

Consider helping Imagine Sisters continue to inspire young women to consider giving their lives to Christ in a religious vocation through a tax-deductible donation: HERE

Praying for Father Prospero’s Healing!

Praying for Father Prospero

Yesterday, August 4th the Feast of St. John Vianney (Patron Saint of Priests) was Fr. Will Prospero’s birthday. As many of you know, Father Prospero served the Imagine Sisters Movement as its Chaplain from its early days until February of this year. In his role with Imagine Sisters, Father Prospero was able to assist young women discerning a religious vocation from afar via the internet. Along with assisting young women directly through the Movement, Father also served as a spiritual guide for the Imagine Sisters Team as the Movement took shape and continued to grow. Father Prospero was happy to be with us and to walk with many of you on your journey of discernment. All of us that have served on the Imagine Sisters Team have been blessed by Father’s guidance, wisdom and prayerful support. We are certain that many of you have been blessed in this same way. 

Father Prospero is pictured here second from the right in the red jacket.

Father Prospero is pictured here second from the right in the red jacket.

It was in February of this year, that we announced that Father Prospero would be taking a leave of absence from the Movement due to a battle with a very serious and rare form of cancer. From that time we have certainly felt the absence of our beloved Chaplain, and have prayed unceasingly for his healing. It is with sorrow that we share today, that Father Prospero will not return to serve in his role as Chaplain, as his battle with cancer continues and has become much more serious. 

We ask that each of you might join us in continuing to pray for a miraculous cure for Father Prospero (God-willing!) through the intercession of the Venerable Nelson Baker of Buffalo, NY. A book of letters and reflections is currently being compiled for Father Prospero. We ask that if you feel so called, or if you emailed with or know Father Prospero personally that you would use the form below to submit a letter or reflection. To be included in the book, all messages must be submitted by 3p.m. (the hour of mercy) tomorrow, August 6th. 

Dear Imagine Sisters…

Over the past few weeks, we have received countless emails from young women who will be entering religious life in the upcoming year. We hope you will join us in praying for these courageous young women in the coming weeks as they prepare for entrance with their communities. One email particularly struck us, from a young woman named Amanda who allowed us share her email with you, so that you might share our joy! Take a look below to see what Amanda had to say about her discernment, and to learn a little more about the community she will be joining!

 


 

Dear Imagine Sisters,

Thank you so much for your ministry! Two days ago a Sister, from the order I’m entering, tagged me in your Facebook post about those preparing to enter! I want you to know that God is using you!

A year and a half ago a friend of mine reposted a post of yours on Facebook. I saw it and immediately went to your page. I began following you that day. Through your posts over that next month or so God spoke to my heart and in a moment of silence with Him, I heard His gentle call to me, asking me to be His bride. In April of 2013, God led me to the Sisters Of St. Joseph The Worker in Walton, KY! I was accepted last June and have been tirelessly working to pay off debt so I can enter. God has worked miracles and I have had hundreds of people helping me, and more importantly, praying for vocations!

Praise God! I will be entering as a postulant on the feast of the Assumption, August 15th this year!!! Thank you for all of your prayers and know of mine for all of you and this ministry! God used you to get me to discern His will for my life, that I promised to do, and got a little off track. Thank you, thank you! You mean so much to my vocation, and I’m sure others’!

God bless you all!

Prayerfully and with gratitude,
Amanda,
Candidate, Sisters Of St. Joseph The Worker

 

Matt Maher Thinks Nuns are Awesome-Sauce!

Exactly one year ago today we shared this little message from Matt Maher with our followers. Today, we wanted to share it again, simply because we love the fact that Matt Maher thinks nuns are awesome-sauce! A few days prior to posting the video, a friend of mine called me out of the blue with an extra ticket to a Matt Maher concert near my home. I was so stoked to be able to attend the concert, and was even more stoked for the opportunity to connect with Matt after the show! I was curious to know if he had heard of the Imagine Sisters Movement and what he thought of the religious life. It turns out that he loves nuns and he relies on the prayers of nuns to do what he does! Don’t believe me? See for yourself below!

 

We’re back… Blogging & Praying!

You might be thinking…

“I haven’t seen any movement on the Imagine Sisters Blog in over 5 months.”

 

We are back!

It’s true!

We have been on a little bit of a blogging hiatus due to some major transitions that have been happening behind the scenes with the Imagine Sisters Team and the Movement itself. In the coming weeks we will be sharing updates, a few recent happenings, some AWESOME news as well as reflections from Team past & present and a few of our friends who have been impacted by the Movement. In short: the blog is back and we are just getting started!

Until the new blog posts start rolling out, we want to ask you to join us in prayer. Over the next 54 days the Imagine Sisters Team has committed to praying  a 54-day rosary novena in anticipation of our 2nd Anniversary and the upcoming Year of Consecrated Life. We hope that you will join us! But why the commitment to this extremely long novena you might ask? Why not just pray a standard nine-day novena? The answer to those questions is simple: VOCATIONS! The Imagine Sisters Team has been experiencing a renewal in zeal and we wanted to do something BIG (hence the 54-day commitment) for vocations and the religious life! With the Holy Father’s announcement of the Year of Consecrated Life we are feeling more excited than ever about the mission of Imagine Sisters! We have some really cool things in mind for 2015, yet we know that even with a renewal in zeal, we are going to need your prayers, support and a lot of grace to accomplish them.

Pray for Vocations - Imagine Sisters

So how will it work?

We will be praying 54 rosaries over the course of 54 days. One rosary each day! For the first 27 days of the novena we will pray a rosary each day in a spirit of petition with our intentions in mind (find specific intentions listed below). During the second half of the novena (27 days) we will pray a rosary each day in a spirit of thanksgiving, thanking God for hearing and answering our petitions. 

The novena starts on Wednesday, April 16th and will conclude on Pentecost Sunday, June 8th. 

Here are the intentions we are praying for during the first 27 days of this novena:

  • For young women throughout the world to be open to the idea of a religious vocation, for honest and authentic discernment and for and increase in the number of women that respond with a resounding “YES!” to the Lord.
  • For consecrated women religious throughout the world, that they might be strengthened in their vocation and that their lives given totally to Christ might be an example for all of the Christian faithful. 
  • That, as we celebrate our 2nd Anniversary, God’s will might continue to be fulfilled in the work of the Imagine Sisters Movement; and with this, that a culture of vocations might continue to be renewed and strengthened within the Church.

Again, the novena concludes with another set of 27 days, offering our daily rosary in  thanksgiving for God’s generosity in hearing and granting these petitions.

THANK YOU ahead of time for joining with us in this powerful period of prayer. We are so excited to continue working with each of you to foster a culture of vocations! We cannot wait to share with you our JOY and a few of our hopes for the Year of Consecrated Life! Until then… let us join together in prayer!

Enter your email into the black box & press enter on your keyboard to submit!



The ISM Store is back open!

Hello friends!

We’re very excited to announce our new and improved Imagine Sisters store! We’ve made a few changes and we’ve improved our ordering system! Here is how it works:

  • Ordering is open from Wednesday, November 6 through Wednesday, November 20. After the 20th, the store will close down until next Quarter.
  • Printing will take place from November 20th – December 3rd
  • Shipping will take place from December 4th – December 9th
  • You will receive your items at least a week before Christmas (probably more like 2 weeks!)

We’ve got a small team, but we finally have the system down. That being said, we have tons of new items… and the Imagine Sisters DVD! The DVD has the full version, plus a new shorter version of the film (about 16 minutes) for using in large groups or at conferences. Full HD quality! No downloading or buffering or waiting for it to load online! We also have a special features section with a link to download the soundtrack and other goodies. Every dollar goes to support the work of Imagine Sisters, seriously!

We would also like announce that we are using a new printing company called Proud Catholic Company. By purchasing a shirt or other item from Imagine Sisters you are directly helping a great Catholic small business and Imagine Sisters! We have also upgraded all of our clothing to Anvil, and what an upgrade. Check the descriptions of each item to read more, and we’ve included size charts to help you figure out the fit. It is very similar to the original Imagine Sisters shirts… just stronger and softer!

Please tell your friends about the store! If you’re interested in an international order please contact us.

Click to visit: The Imagine Sisters Store

Learning to Speak His Language

Discerning your vocation can be an intimidating task, but it should not be a frightening one – it should really be exciting, because to discern your vocation is the first small step in the great journey of uncovering the mystery of God’s will in your life. And it is a journey well worth the effort! As St. Augustine said, “to fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” The journey of discovering your call is not always easy, but it is always joyful, because to find and follow God’s call is nothing other than to learn the way God wants to love you. It is God’s desire to romance every human heart, and discerning your vocation is a matter of sifting out how He is asking you to let Him love you. Continue reading

Tulsa + St. Therese Novena + Updates!

As we write this blog, we find ourselves just days away from our deadline (February 1,2013) to finish fundraising for Light of Love–our new film about the beautiful lives of sisters!  We’re also preparing for the upcoming Tulsa Mission you might have heard about on our Facebook or Tumblr. If you are hearing about this project for the first time, you definitely need to visit the film website and our social media networks to see more on what we are up to! Continue reading