August 26, 2005

Serra Club Vocations Essay:
Priests and religious lead admirable lives

By Elizabeth Jamison

There is such a strong sense of community within convents and seminaries united in serving God in various ministries.

It is not always apparent how large a role these brave men and women take on when they dedicate themselves entirely to a religious order.

I came to realize how much of an impact the Sisters of Providence have made, not only within their community, but also worldwide, when I visited their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods near Terre Haute on several occasions last spring.

I competed in National History Day last year, which allowed me to do a dramatic performance on my great-great aunt, Mother Marie Gratia Luking, who was a Sister of Providence. She traveled with a group of five sisters to China and Taiwan in the 1920s and helped establish a school to educate Chinese girls and women.

This mission to the Orient changed and enriched the lives of so many people, and led to the creation of Providence University in Taiwan.

During my visits, I was able to speak with numerous sisters who were each leading admirable lives of service in the fields of education, healthcare, Church ministry and foreign missions.

It is amazing how many stories these women had to share with me and how incredibly humble they were about their accomplishments.

During each of my visits, I had the opportunity to attend Mass in their beautiful church. My breath was taken away as each sister truly indwelled the type of adamant faith that each Catholic seeks to have but often falls short of having.

Another experience that I have had was working as a counselor at CYO Camp Rancho Framasa in Brown County, where I met a young seminarian.

There are many men and women that realize God’s call to them to serve as his hands and feet on earth, but need the encouragement of friends and family.

Without priests, who would baptize our children? Who would celebrate Mass? Who would transform the gifts of Jesus? Who would prepare couples for marriage or give last rites?

Without brothers and sisters, who would offer their prayers for us? Who would educate our children about our faith? Who would evangelize and serve the poor in countries throughout the world? Who would stand up for moral issues?

Priests, brothers and sisters bear such a plethora of fruit for the Church and for the world. We need the support of new vocations as we continue to thrive through all of the work that priests, brothers and sisters do.

(Elizabeth and her parents, Peter and Laura Jamison, are members of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis. She is now a junior at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis and is the 10th-grade division winner in the 2005 Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.) †

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