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Sr. Jackie Bates, r.c.
Living the Vows Today

Sr. Jackie Bates Final Vow Service July 26, 2014

Living the vow of chastity is living a life rooted in God's love. Chastity guides me in my intimate relationships with God and others. I try to witness to the priority of God in my relationships. This involves every part of my life: the way I eat and drink, work and play, sleep and rest, speak and remain silent. In community life it involves fidelity, tenderness, humility, forgiveness, sensitivity and welcome. Chastity is my response to God's desire to make a home in my heart. I feel an ever deepening call to be still and to wait for God without anything to show, to prove or to argue. It's letting go and letting be, that surrender to God's love.

The vow of obedience calls me to a deep listening with my whole being and discerned response. I listen to the voice of the Spirit within me, life itself, community and the person in front of me.  I find that to listen with my whole being I have to take some time alone for personal reflection and consideration. This allows me to be more open and sensitive to the ways God calls me to be together with others.

The vow of poverty calls me to a surrender of my love even as I recognize my own poverty that blesses me. I am poor and can, therefore, be hospitable when I know in the very core of my being that everything is gift. I am poor when I embrace my own darkness as truly mine, and yet know that I am loved; when compassion transforms my word and needs; when I am able to se the nothingness in all things and that leads me to an authentic hunger for God; and when I embrace others in their poverty.
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A Prayer for Religious Vocations

Good and gracious God you are the potter and we are the clay.  Mold our young people to be your disciples.  Give them the courage to discern your call to Religious Life.  Give strength to those who serve in your Church.  May they lead your people to holiness.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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FAQ: National Catholic Sisters Week

What is National Catholic Sisters Week?

National Catholic Sisters Week (NCSW) is a dedicated celebration of Catholic sisters intended to raise awareness of their vital contributions, both past and present. It is a national campaign that culminates annually from March 8 to 14.

When is National Catholic Sisters Week?
The dedicated week is March 8 to 14 every year.

Who is it for?
National Catholic Sisters Week is for everyone. Every American can be inspired or empowered by Catholic sisters. Our audience spans all ages and creeds, from seniors to Baby Boomers to teens, including Catholic sisters, parishes, colleges, and religious communities. NCSW is also geared to young women who grapple with major life decisions and explore their spirituality; they can draw great strength and wisdom from Catholic sisters.

What is the purpose?
National Catholic Sisters Week is intended to broaden awareness of Catholic sisters, whose lives and ministries often remain behind the scenes. The hope is that those who learn more about women religious will be inspired and compelled to engage in self reflection, service and simple acts of kindness. We also envision an outcome in which more young women consider religious life because they have been exposed to it through a personal relationship.

When did NCSW launch?
National Catholic Sisters Week debuted in March 2014.

How does NCSW relate to National Women’s History Month?
National Catholic Sisters Week is an official component of Women’s History Month. It was authorized by Molly Murphy MacGregor, co-founder of National Women’s History
Project, who was educated and deeply influenced by Catholic sisters. In 1981, Women’s History Month launched as a single week. By 1987, U.S. Congress formally expanded it to the full month of March.

Where is NCSW housed?
The National Catholic Sisters Week team is headquartered at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., the largest college for women in the nation. The private liberal-artsuniversity was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1905.

Who’s in charge of NCSW?
The National Catholic Sisters Week team is led by two executive directors, Sister Mary Soher, OP, and Molly Hazelton, who share an office on the campus of St. Catherine University. Their talented staff includes media professionals and student interns. NCSW is supported by a $3.3 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.


Where is NCSW happening?
National Catholic Sisters Week is designed to be celebrated across the country. Check out the NCSW website ( for information and event listings. If an event hasn’t been planned in your community, we encourage you to host one. The website offers an array of ideas to spark your creative juices and resources to help organize and publicize and event.

How can I participate?
Any time you tell the story or share the good work of a Catholic sister – whether through a one-one conversation, a blog post or a tweet – you are participating in NCSW.  Participation is as simple as engaging online with NCSW. Follow our social channels to stay informed. You can also participate by attending an NCSW event or hosting your own, however big or small, in the spirit of celebrating women religious.

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What Do You Want???
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?"  John 1:38

What would you say if Jesus stood before you and asked you the question, "What are you looking for?"  Would you stand there in amazement, too awestruck even to respond?  Or would all sorts of requests come floating forth from you?  What would you ask for?  Would you request miracles and answers to all your problems and concerns?

Anthony De Mello, S.J. tells a story in Free Flight about a woman who dreamed that Jesus was a salesman in a market-place.  when she asked him what he sold, Jesus told her that she could have anything her heart desired.  She excitedly requested things like freedom from fear, peace of mind and heart, and the end of pain and struggle in her life.  When Jesus heard this, he responded to her, "Oh, no, you've got me wrong.  We don't sell fruits here, only seeds."

I've often thought of how much I want God to zap away every difficult thing from my life.  Instead, God gives me "seeds" like wisdom, courage and faith so that I can grow and mature through my life's events.

Dear God, today I will pay attention to the "seeds" that are waiting to be watered and tended.  I will sap looking for instant solutions to problems and be more aware of the opportunities for growth.  
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Jesus at the Center
If you were to ask me point blank: “What does it mean to you to live spiritually?” I would have to reply: “Living with Jesus at the center.” There are always countless questions, problems, discussions and difficulties that demand one’s attention. Despite this, when I look back over my life, I can say that, for me, the person of Jesus has come to be more important. Specifically, this means that what matters increasingly is getting to know Jesus and living in solidarity with him. There was a time when I got so immersed in problems of society that my whole life had become a sort of drawn-out, wearisome discussion. Jesus had been pushed into the background or had himself, become just another problem. Fortunately, if hasn’t stayed that way. Jesus has stepped out in front again, so to speak, and asked me: “And you, who do you say that I am?” It has become clearer to me than ever that my relationship with Jesus is the heart of my existence.

Sr. Jackie Bates, rc, is the Young Adult Ministry Coordinator and the Local Vocational Contact in Metairie, Louisiana. She is a certified Master Catechetist and is also involved in the ministry of directed retreats and spiritual direction. She joined the Cenacle Sisters in July of 2002 and is currently in her Temporary Profession.        
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