International Vocation Committee

"Hearts Aflame"

March 2024 | Issue 10

Hello from the International Vocation Committee. We hope that all of you have had the chance to read our new e-book, "Hearts Aflame," which has stories, artwork, and poems by many of the Sisters of Bon Secours from France, Ireland, Great Britain, USA, Peru, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was a work of love to share these stories, which show that although each of our journeys are different and we all take different paths, we are all loved by God.


The book was part of the Congregation's 200th Anniversary celebrations. We wanted to share the stories of our sisters' vocations, ministries, as well as their artistic gifts, as a way to inspire others and show our commitment to being good help to those in need.


If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, you can click on the picture above or the link below. (And if you don't know the answer to our trivia question: it's Sr. Elena Serrano Saavedra from Peru on page 27. Such a compelling story!)

Read Hearts Aflame

World Day of Vocations - April 21

Sixty-one years ago, St. Paul VI established World Day of Prayer for Vocations during Vatican Council II to encourage everyone to respond to God's call and to prayerfully support those discerning how to best respond to the needs of today in the vocation God calls them to be. Known as Good Shepherd Sunday, it's a day to pray for and promote all vocations. Here are some parish vocation promotion ideas:

  • Connect with parishes to share vocation information.
  • Speak at liturgical or youth or young adult events or gatherings.
  • Share 200th jubilee information in bulletins.
  • Lead prayer services at campus ministry gatherings.
  • Share discernment prayers or songs.
  • Capture vocation prayer photos for social media.
  • Showcase your chapel, invite others to join in praying for vocations.


Per a study in the USA, 73% of women and men professing final vows participated in one or more parish activities and 88% served in one or more parish ministries before entering religious life. Our presence and participation in activities that mark this special day are essential.

Highlights of Our Vocation Efforts

Democratic Republic of the Congo - Sr. Santos Nélida Romero Vásquez

(From left to right: Deborah Imbumbu, Eunice Kaka, Cecile Disunga, Marielle Nganda, Myriam Ndwalwa)

  • Meet the five aspirants (above) living in our community and actively engaged in a comprehensive nine-month formative program.
  • In our collaborative efforts, Sr. Jacqueline oversees the postulants, Sr. Elvia focuses on the pre-candidates, and Sisters Thérèse and Santos Nélida lead vocation promotion.
  • We receive applications online from young women expressing interest in the Bon Secours charism and a desire to join our community.
  • Additionally, some women come to our attention through recommendations by priests, other sisters with direct connections, or through the distributed leaflets in various provinces.

Peru - Sr. Joana Castillo Segura

From November 17 to 22, 2023, Sisters Lila Jazmín and Joana Margarita joyfully embarked on a vocation promotion journey. Traveling to the beautiful city of Tarapoto and warm Yurimaguas, our 22-hour bus ride was filled with anticipation.

 

Thanks to the warm reception from the Yurimaguas Catholic education office and generous teachers, we connected with students in secondary schools. Sharing our life stories and mission, we ignited inspiration and curiosity among many young minds.

 

We invited young women curious to explore our way of life to a lively vocation day in the Carmelite Sisters convent, where thirteen enthusiastic young people joined us for a morning of uplifting songs, heartfelt prayers, engaging themes, playful games, and more.

 

Their energy and enthusiasm marked our hearts. Our journey was about creating connections, spreading joy, and igniting curiosity among the wonderful young individuals we met. Cheers to new beginnings and the vibrant spirit of vocation!

All this was possible thanks to the prayer and efforts of our Sisters of Bon Secours and the people who like angels God places in our path. Thanks to the Carmelite Sisters and Mother Guadalupe who opened the doors of their home and their hearts to us and making us feel like family. And to Mrs. Socorro Ríos, mother of our Sr. Sara, who shared her testimony about having a daughter as a religious of Bon Secours. It was Wonderful! 

In December 2023, Sisters Gumercinda and Joana journeyed to Palo Blanco – Pacaypampa to visit five young women in their final year of high school. These students expressing an interest in Consecrated Life through their religious education teacher, sought guidance. As Sisters of Bon Secours, we shared insights into our lifestyle, the history of our congregation, and our personal testimonies of answering the call to follow God. 

On our journey, we visited the family of Milagros, and invited one of the most willing young women to “Come and See”. Although her parents harbor some reservations about her aspirations, we've planted the seed; now, let the Lord of the harvest do the rest. Gratitude to Sister Gumercinda for her remarkable gift of connecting with people's hearts.



Ireland and Great Britain- Anne-Marie Whelan

(Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious in Ireland)

In January, Anne-Marie helped facilitate a morning session for young religious in Dublin.

 

Thirty young religious from 22 different congregations participated! The morning was filled with prayer, deep reflections, and an engaging Synodal conversation. They talked about their diverse ministries with young people and discussed the support they, as young religious, need along the way. It was a meaningful gathering!

Foundation Day on 24th January was a great opportunity to promote vocations.

  • Each hospital and community were provided with prayer cards for distribution.
  • In the Cork Hospital, Sisters and Associates were present to meet and talk with staff.


Why host an event like this? Click here for 5 insights.

Anne-Marie is also accompanying volunteers in the BREW132 Evangelisation Café.

  • Young adults use their own ideas to evangelise other young people and have started a space for prayer requests in the café, which are passed on to local congregations.
  • The staff also make their own delicious cakes and pastries.

France - Marie Madeleine Chopard

(Sr. Anne-Madeleine (sitting), two students from Stanislas, Sr. Elva Cordova Renteria and Sr. Noelia Lara Núñez)

In France, a significant partnership has kicked off between Stanislas students and the Sisters of the Maison Mère. This partnership aims to foster understanding and to learn more about Bon Secours.

 

Throughout 2024, various activities are planned on the 24th of each month in Vendôme, bringing together Sisters, associates, collaborators, and volunteers. It’s all in celebration of our 200th Anniversary and reflects our history and the impact we've made both yesterday and today.

INVITATION: "I pray for the Congregation of Sisters of Bon Secours which is celebrating its bicentenary today." [PrionsenEnglise No445 January 2024 edition]

The French vocation team is actively working to boost the visibility of Bon Secours through targeted initiatives. They're reaching out to inspire women to consider religious life and become part of Bon Secours.

 

These collaborative efforts benefit everyone involved, fostering mutual relationships of service, education, and spiritual growth. Exciting times are ahead as we celebrate, reflect, and inspire!

USA - Sr. Fran Gorsuch


Perpetua Madu, a pre-candidate, and Sr. Fran are planning to discuss insights from the book "In Our Own Words: Religious Life in a Changing World." This book features articles written by newer members of women's communities in the USA, giving us a glimpse into the evolving landscape of religious life today. Sr. Martha Leamy, Perpetua’s mentor, are also sharing insights from an article about community.

 

Perpetua, seen in the middle back row, is living with our sisters in Ireland. In the photo with her community, you'll find Sisters Chantal Ryan, Consuelo McCullagh, Katherine Tierney, Martha Leamy, Eileen O'Connor, Martina Mulcahy, and Oliver McSweeney (front row).

 

Sr. Fran is reaching out to women who have shown interest in the Sisters of Bon Secours beyond their initial inquiry, and materials are being sent to those on the mailing list.

 

National Catholic Sisters Week, happening from March 8 to 14, provides an opportunity to share a prayer advocating against gun violence, helping to raise awareness and appreciation for who we are and our mission.

Sister Spotlight - Sr. Lilias Clare Kane

We are pleased to feature Sr. Lilias Clare from Great Britain who shares her life journey with us.

I came to know of the Sisters of Bon Secours when I met Sr. Mary Basil during my midwifery training in London. I had been conscious that I was being called; it was like something in my subconscious mind that seemed to make me think more deeply about the meaning of life. I went to Catholic school from the ages of 13 to 16 and yet I had never been drawn to the Sister’s way of life.


When I met Sr. Basil I was surprised to meet a Nursing Sister and said to myself, “I can do what she is doing.” I saw goodness in action, and as Sr. Basil had a marvellous sense of humour I was soon asking her a few questions about her life. She invited me to visit her convent in London. The brass plaque on the door read “The Sisters of Bon Secours for the care of the sick”, and that struck a chord!


I took my midwifery examination Part 2 on 11th December 1954 and entered the Sisters of Bon Secours of Paris Congregation in London on 12th December. I received my pass results on the 17th and sailed to France to begin my novitiate in Paris. I felt called to be a missionary, but I knew when I entered Bon Secours that God had called me to use my gifts and talents in His service wherever I was sent. 

Congregation Vocation Prayer

The International Vocation Committee invited all members of the Bon Secours Family to pray for vocations during this Jubilee year. Each person received a prayer card with a designated founding sister's name. Those with matching names were encouraged to connect and pray together.

 

Are you using this prayer in your community, associate, or young adult

group? Let's make the most of the Jubilee year, seeking God's guidance to bring

young women to Bon Secours.



If you are new to Bon Secours, reach out to your country's vocation director for

assistance. Together, let's rely on one another's prayers to foster the growth

of vocations in Bon Secours.

Request for Prayers

Join us in prayer in support of the following women who are in discernment, using the 200th Anniversary Vocation Prayer above, or the following. 


Pre-candidates: Perpetua Madu (Kenya), Flavian Mamba Cosongo (DRC), Omer Ntumba Mukuna (DRC), Véronique Apenda Elumba (DRC), Jeannette Mbuyi Musoli (DRC), Abigael Makulu (DRC)

 

Our Bon Dieu, you call each one of us by name and ask us to follow you. Inspire these young women as they grow to know you and open their hearts to hear your call. We ask this in Jesus’ name.  

Amen.

Vocation Quick Tips - Help us promote Sisters of Bon Secours and vocations!

Sharing our ebook, Hearts Aflame, is a good way to help promote the Congregation. It can be a topic to share with inquirers or young adults that you meet, and it is a great way to help others get to better know the charism of the Sisters of Bon Secours.


Ways to Distribute: Mail, Email; Social Media Posts; ask your parish priest to print the link or post it online in the bulletin; send a copy to your diocesan vocation director, leave it at a local coffee shop, send a copy to the catholic university student group, leave copies for the parish young adult group.


Email the pdf or flipbook link to your friends, parish, co-workers, university campus ministry office. Help spread the good news of Bon Secours! 

Share Hearts Aflame

Blessings,


Members of the International Vocation Committee


Sr. Joana Castillo Segura, Associate Marie Madeleine Chopard, Sr. Pat Dowling, Sr. Fran Gorsuch, Sr. Thérèse Katshiaka, Bernadette Rolland, Sr. Santos Nélida Romero Vásquez, Sr. Marie Ryan, Sr. Leonila Vega Rodríguez,  Anne-Marie Whelan

Congregation of Sisters of Bon Secours Vocation Office