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#TheseSistersHaveNames

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These Sisters Have Names

Anselm, Reginette, Judith and Marguerite.

These are the names of the four women religious slain in Yemen last Friday March 4.

The lives of these four Missionaries of Charity came to a sudden end while they were preparing breakfast.  Four gunmen stormed the nursing home where the sisters worked and and killed 14 in total, according to church officials.

Would you join us in sharing the four names of these ‘martyrs of charity’? We pray for them and all the other countless women religious in the Church’s history who are martyrs for their faith.

In St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis prayed that Blessed Mother Teresa “accompany to paradise these daughters of hers, martyrs of charity, and that she would intercede for peace and a sacred respect for human life.”

Sister Anselm, 57, was the youngest of seven siblings in an Indian family of farmers. Fellow missionaries said she lived and died for the people. While not much is known about the three other sisters, including 44-year-old Sister Margherite and 32-year-old Sister Reginette, both of Rwanda, and 41-year-old Kenyan Sister Judith, they are not forgotten. They were daughters, sisters and spiritual mothers to many. Bishop Paul Hinder, the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, which includes Yemen, said they  “sacrificed their lives by following their own charism.”

Churches and communities across the world have rallied to support these four martyrs across the world. Photos show Yemenis gathering the next day to protest the attack. In Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, will celebrate the Holy Eucharist March 11 with other clergy, religious and lay faithful. In Rwanda, a requiem Mass honors the mission accomplished by the sisters, leting other Christians know of their sacrifice, Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege of the Diocese of Kabgayi told Rwanda’s The New Times.

Telesphore Cardinal Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India, said “this is an act of wanton killing; a pointless murder of nuns who had opted to lead a life of celibacy; to be of service to God, the poor and the needy. The dedicated sisters were brave women who had chosen to ignore the ongoing turmoil and violence in Yemen to be by the side of the elderly and the needy” to The Telegraph.

Sister Sally, the mother superior of the Yemeni community, survived the attack and safely escaped. Father Tom Uzhunnali, an Indian Salesian priest who was in the chapel at the time of the attack, remains missing, ANI reports.

The names of these four Missionaries of Charity were released on March 8, which is recognized as International Women’s Day as well as the first day of National Catholic Sisters Week, which runs through March 14.

“The dignity of women is their strength and faith in the God who created them,” said Father Leo Patalinghug, a well-known priest and host of Grace Before Meals said in a Facebook post. “If we want to know the power of women, look no further to the one who gave birth to us. And in a special way, look to these women – Missionaries of Charity – martyred in Yemen by terrorists. They stood strong to care for the poorest and weakest. They gave the ultimate sacrifice. Why do news outlets avoid talking about these wonderful and powerful women? May these Holy Women of God pray for us.”

Since January 2015, Yemen remains battered in an ongoing civil war. According to the United Nations, more than 2,400 have died in the conflict, including many children and civilians, both Muslim and Christian.

Sisters Anselm, Reginette, Judith and Marguerite, pray for us.

James Ramos is a storyteller and designer with the Texas Catholic Herald in Houston. Follow him on Twitter (www.twitter.com/plusjames) and Instagram (instagram.com/plusjames). He’s also great at high fives and group selfies.

Let Fall a Shower of Roses: One Rose Invitation 2014

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The One Rose Invitation is an Imagine Sisters tradition that takes place annually on October 1st, the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. St. Therese is the patron saint of Imagine Sisters, and a perfect model and friend-in-Heaven for those considering consecrated life as a religious sister. She entered a Carmelite monastery at 15, and spent her life loving Christ through prayer and small sacrifices. Before her passing at the age of 24, St. Therese said, “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses.

The inspiration for the One Rose Invitation is drawn from these words. In the days leading up to St. Thérèse’s feast, Imagine Sisters asks our followers to think of and pray about a young woman whom they believe would make a good religious sister. Then, on October 1st, you are to let her know by offering her a rose. This rose is an acknowledgment of the beauty of that young woman’s soul, and a symbol of the invitation to consider a vocation to religious life.

Will you take part in this beautiful tradition? Here are some suggestions!

1. Spend some time in prayer with the Lord, the Blessed Mother, and St. Thérèse. Meditate on the virtues and qualities of a bride of Christ, and think of young women in whom you see those features. Is she someone at your parish? In your dorm? A student in your grade or high school? A daughter, granddaughter, goddaughter, sibling, niece or cousin? A friend?

2. Ask God to help you decide who to present your rose to. If you want to give roses to multiple women, that is absolutely allowed!

3. Next, plan for how you will acquire this rose. There are many options: flower shops or grocery stores are a good bet, and this year’s Feast is on a Wednesday, so stores will be open. Rose bushes are also typically still in bloom at this time in the season, so you could clip one from your own yard, or ask a neighbor for permission to clip theirs! It is for a good cause. 😉 In cases where it is not possible to acquire and give a real rose, some people choose to mail a greeting card with a rose on it, draw a picture of a rose, or even e-mail/post a digital image of a rose. These are all good options!

4. When will you give her the rose? You could ask her to meet with you, or leave it for her with a note, or mail it on Saturday to ensure it arrives by Wednesday.

5. If she has not yet heard of Imagine Sisters, you may direct her to our web pages if she is interested in discerning religious life!

6. Continue to hold her in prayer. Why not pair your One Rose with one Rosary? :-)

For more ideas, photos, and testimonies from the One Rose Invitation in years past, read this blog post!

You may use this pre-designed note if you wish!

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Working Together for Vocations: The Future of Imagine Sisters

Before Imagine Sisters, I always wondered why there had been no widespread vocational outreach for women’s religious life like there is for priests. Then when I discovered Imagine Sisters, I was so excited that someone was finally making it happen!”  – J., an ISM follower

That is precisely what the Imagine Sisters Movement is for: widespread vocational outreach for women’s religious life. Imagine Sisters is meant to be more than just a Facebook page that posts cool nun graphics. God’s dream and our mission is for Imagine Sisters to be the locus for young women to come to learn about the vocation, for exposure to religious communities and retreats, help with discernment, a community of prayerful support, friendships with other young women discerning, and if it be God’s will, the strength to give their lives to Christ.

Imagine Sisters is also intended to be a channel through which religious communities can share their light with young people, via photos, videos, testimonies and vocation stories, contact information, and retreat schedules. We want to bring the beauty of religious life to the world, in hopes of bringing many young women to religious life.

In regards to the cool nun graphics, Imagine Sisters works to raise awareness of the beauty, fruitfulness, and fulfillment in religious life–simply by showing proof! The Imagine Sisters Movement seeks to remove our negative cultural stigma of nuns as angry, mean old women– to “retire the ruler” as we say at ISM. And it works: my non-religious best friend from public school told me, “Kelsey, I used to think nuns were scary, but now I think they’re really cool because of you!”

Many people do not understand why their daughters, sisters, or friends would want to become a sister, and even for those who do understand and support the vocation, their sacrifice can be difficult. The Imagine Sisters Movement wants to minister to the needs of these people, through parent resources and outreach, forums for families of sisters, print materials for young women on how to talk to their parents, and informational materials women can give to their families to help them understand and support their discernment of a religious vocation.

The Imagine Sisters Movement is available for parishes, youth ministers, campus ministers, catechists, and religion teachers to reach young people with high-quality resources about women’s religious life. In the majority of my generation’s upbringing, sisters were mentioned only as a sidenote, if at all. So many young, faithful Catholics have never met a sister, and just do not know that religious life is “still a thing.” At first, even my close friends told me, “Kelsey, you’re like the only person under 80 years old I have ever heard talking about wanting to be a nun.” Imagine Sisters can work with priests and the laity to reintroduce women’s religious life to young people at a parish and school level.

Ultimately, the Imagine Sisters Movement exists to rebuild a culture of vocations in our Church. It is intended to move young people to authentic discernment, with informed minds and open hearts. The effects of this outreach are not limited to women’s religious vocations: young vocations encourage other young people to give their lives to Christ, and meeting young women religious often inspires young men to consider a call to the priesthood.

~ * ~33 days for VOCATIONS

Currently, we are in the midst of a “33 Days for Vocations” fundraiser, to support the life of this ministry. Approximately half of the fundraising goal is intended for travel to youth conferences, webpage upkeep, and most especially for three special initiatives for what Pope Francis has deemed the 2015 Year of Consecrated Life. These initiatives are an on-the-go Imagine Sisters smartphone app, a redesigned website, and a video and blog series about religious life. Trust me, as Imagine Sisters’ resident NON-techgeek (“You’re getting a Mac Notebook? Is it wide-ruled or college?”) I can say that the smartphone app, new website, and video series aren’t just some pricey new-fangled gadgetry. These features have such tremendous value for the New Evangelization, especially in the Year of Consecrated Life:

An Imagine Sisters smartphone app means young women can easily access articles, information, retreat schedules, inspiration, prayers, photos, and videos… all to help them discern whether Christ calls them to be His bride. We want to have every woman religious in the country saying, “Lord, I wish I had something like this when I was discerning!” The smartphone app also means young women who are just learning of Imagine Sisters and the beauty of religious life can share the app among their friends; this way the Movement can spread further and faster, to set hearts on fire for Christ through the radiance of His brides.

The newly-designed website will keep Imagine Sisters up to the standards of other high-quality, secular media that aggressively vies for the attention of young people. A beautiful, sleek design attracts young people and encourages them to take the content seriously, to trust it as something worthwhile. As we also plan to enrich the website with deeper, more comprehensive content written by women religious, a new design will drive the impact this content can have.

Videos have always been crucial to the Imagine Sisters Movement! People need to see the beauty, love, joy, fruitfulness, and fulfillment that exists in religious life, in order to believe it! They need to see other young women living this vocation in order to imagine themselves doing the same! Similarly, blog posts are a major way that young people learn from and relate with others; therefore, a dynamic blogging campaign featuring posts from women religious and young women considering religious life would be an incredible way to aid young women in their own discernment throughout this upcoming Year of Consecrated Life.

~ * ~

These first two years at Imagine Sisters have been difficult, because we have always been a tiny group of young volunteers trying our best to serve this great need in the Church.

In our first year, Imagine Sisters was made up of Dan, Amanda, me, and a couple of helpers. This past year, Dan stepped down because he began major seminary in California, my own contribution was all but nonexistent because I was taking 24 credit hours of classes each semester in order to graduate from Loyola in Chicago, and the other helpers also became too busy in their own lives. That left Amanda in Ohio, who was already working two jobs at 60+ hours a week in order to support herself. This was the weakened state of our organization.

Just a few months ago, we were uncertain how the movement could possibly be sustained considering our circumstances. We sought counsel from others and prayed to God to direct Imagine Sisters, which has always been a movement of the Holy Spirit, along the path He desired for us. Amanda and I traveled to meet together in person, and during that time the Holy Spirit absolutely swept us away! Our zeal skyrocketed, and the Church responded, as we have gained over 10,000 followers in the last 2 months! We saw how well we work when we are together for inspiration and encouragement, and how with each other and the Lord we can move mountains– if only we have the time.

Imagine Sisters is in great need of benefactors to support the life of our ministry. We eagerly desire to better serve young women, religious sisters, and the Church, yet the problem all comes down to our poverty of time, which is due to our lack of funding. This is why we have launched our “33 Days for Vocations” fundraising campaign. The other half of our $75,000 fundraising goal is allocated for staff wages. These salaries, small but sufficient, would mean that Amanda could quit her job to work as director of Imagine Sisters full time, and I could work as assistant director for Imagine Sisters throughout graduate school, rather than us both spending that time at outside jobs.

With more time to devote to Imagine Sisters, we would be able to develop a religious community membership program so as to include so many more sisters in our Movement– we have a spreadsheet of contact information on over 200 faithful communities, whom we long to engage! We would be able to compile and print resources for parents and families, keep our merchandise store open more frequently, respond to e-mails and suggestions from followers, and so much more.

We need your help in order to continue and fortify the work of Imagine Sisters. We need your help to make the Year of Consecrated Life initiatives come to life. We need your help to enable young women to truly imagine themselves as sisters, and to gain religious vocations for the Church.

This fundraiser is extremely important, because if the funds do not come through, it is possible that the Imagine Sisters Movement will come to a halt, due to a poverty of time. Many are looking to Imagine Sisters as both a window and channel to authentic women’s religious life, and we want to give all we can to religious communities, young women, families, friends, parishes, and the entire Church. We know that God desires more and the Church needs more than what we have already done. Pope Francis has designated this entire next year as the Year of Consecrated Life: will you help us in this mission to rebuild a culture of religious vocations and inspire young women to give their lives to Christ?

If you are willing to donate to the Imagine Sisters Movement’s “33 Days for Vocations” fundraiser, please click here to be directed to our campaign.

 

Please remember us in your prayers, and share this message with others who believe in the mission of Imagine Sisters!

In God’s love,
Kelsey

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!



Light of Love FAQ

Hooray! Light of Love comes out today! We are so excited and blessed to be able to share this film with you. But before it comes out we would like to address a few of the questions we’ve received… read this first!

What time does the film come out, and how do we watch it?

The film goes live at 7 pm Eastern time, 6 pm Central time, and 4 pm Pacific time. Check our Facebook page for the link to the video when it goes live! You can also watch at lightoflovefilm.com

I can’t make it at 7 PM to see the film. What do I do?

The film premieres at 7 PM Eastern, but the good news is that it will be available to watch/download/share 24/7 after that! We will keep it up forever, and it will always be free to watch online.

Is the film really an hour long?

Yes! After interviewing the sisters and putting all of the material together, the film team decided that Light of Love needed to be an hour long to let viewers have the time they need to interact with the sisters: to follow them from prayer to work, to hear their stories in detail, and to let it all soak in. This means that the film is going to take up more time to watch, but we’re very excited to allow you to come face to face with these truly inspirational women. We recommend blocking off at least an hour of distraction free time… grab a pair of headphones and get comfy!

How can I get resources for small groups / personal reflection / journaling?

We’ve got just the solution… tons of awesome resources put together by our team and sisters from all over the United States. Check out the page at imaginesisters.org/filmguide

I want to show Light of Love at my church / school / university… is that allowed?

Yes! You can play, download, share, link, screen, and project the film to any size audience you’d like. Thank our sponsors for this awesome opportunity to make the film available totally free!

Where can I get a DVD copy of the film?

We hope to have DVDs around one month after the initial release, so hopefully around October 8th. Check our Facebook and we’ll be sure to post more information when it is available. They will be affordable and available for online purchase.

What about subtitles and language translations?

We hope to get the film on YouTube and give individuals the chance to add subtitles and translate them into various languages. Check the Facebook for more information… we’ll post as soon as we can begin this process!

 

Got more questions? Leave them in the comments below! We hope you enjoyed the film, and if you did, we hope you shared it with friends and family!

Light of Love UPDATE!

Good news, friends!

We’re so excited to let you know that we have reached 46% of our fundraising goal of $20,000 for the Light of Love movie! Please pray extra hard that we can find generous donors that will be able to help make this a reality. Remember, we have a deadline of February 1st… and we’re almost there! The various orders (still secret!) are beyond excited that we have the chance to bring their communities into the national spotlight! We’ve also been working hard on getting our friend Sr. Alicia out to speak to people about the film, make sure you follow our Twitter to stay up with her trip to Tulsa, OK on January 29th!

If you haven’t done so already:

Please consider asking a friend, family member, priest, or organization to help us make this film! Donations are totally tax-deductible through our producer, Light House Catholic Media online, and through check or money order! Online donations can be made by clicking here. Perhaps you can’t give money… no problem! We need your prayers… especially asking for the intercession of St Therese of Lisieux!

We’ll keep you updated later in the week, but until then please use the buttons below to share the great news about the film!
 

Fruits of the One Rose Invitation

On October 1st, 2012, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, Imagine Sisters launched the One Rose Invitation, a campaign for the faithful to personally encourage young girls and women to consider a vocation to religious life.

The One Rose Invitation was inspired by St. Therese, the patron saint of Imagine Sisters, who said, “After my death I will let fall a shower of roses.” We asked everyone to think and pray about a young woman they know who they think would make a good religious sister. Then, on the feast, they were to let her know by offering her a single rose. The rose was a symbol of the invitation to consider religious life, as well as an acknowledgment of the beauty of that young woman’s soul.

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Hallucinate, (or Imagine) Sisters

Theresa Noble is a prenovice, aka nun in training, with the Daughters of St. Paul in the US. She left her job in California with eBay to follow God two years ago. She currently lives in a convent in Boston where she prays, evangelizes through the media, bakes bread and blogs at pursuedbytruth.blogspot.com

The beginning of my discernment was a moment of imagining sisters, literally. I actually hallucinated sisters.

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