January 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Many thanks to Cardinal Collins for inviting the Sisters of Life (SOL) to start a foundation in Canada in the Archdiocese of Toronto and to these Sisters for saying “Yes” like Mary to God’s call to dedicate their lives to Christ and for all they do for the cause of Life.
“The Sisters of Life is a contemplative / active religious community of women founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life. Like all religious communities, we take the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. We also are consecrated under a special, fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.”
IMPORTANCE OF EUCHARISTIC ADORATION
“Jesus is THE SOURCE; it is from Him that divine life in man finds its beginning. To have this life, we need only to approach Him and remain in Him. All of us wish to drink from the divine Heart, which is the source of life and holiness” (Pope St. John Paul II).
The SOL organize and lead “The Source” a monthly Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration (with Confession available) followed by a social afterwards at St. Peter’s Church in Toronto. Incidentally, it is wonderful that St. Peter’s parish has also started Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration (Mondays-Thursdays 9am-4pm, Fridays 9am-2pm) at their parish centre, 830 Bathurst St, (just north of Bloor St. West and right across from Bathurst subway station).
The first Superior General of the SOL, Sr. Agnes Mary Donovan, speaking at a pro-life conference a few decades ago, reminded us that prayer is the true strength of the movement: “By bringing back our sense of dependence on God, prayer restores our awareness of the sanctity of life. It calls the heart to act. And it sustains and supports us in action. Nothing ranks before prayer in its importance to the pro-life movement. It is our sure hope of victory.”
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER LIFE
The Sisters outline more details on their Eucharistic prayer life as follows:
“Like our Blessed Mother, who conceived Jesus beneath her heart at the Annunciation and immediately ‘went in haste to the hill country’ to serve her elderly cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist, Sisters of Life first must receive Jesus in the Eucharist before they can begin their work on behalf of vulnerable human life. It is Jesus living in us who gives joy and hope to those weary and worn with fear.
“Our lives are profoundly Eucharistic. In the Eucharist, we find Mercy Himself at our mercy, vulnerable to all… Our faith in His Presence in the Eucharist helps us to discern His presence in every human life, even, and especially when that life is vulnerable, silent, hidden or diminished in any way.
“All of our common prayer is prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, and we pray a daily, common Eucharistic Holy Hour that includes the Rosary, 45 minutes of meditation and Vespers…
“Four hours a day are spent in common prayer. Sisters also spend time each day in spiritual reading. All the convents reserve one day a week and one Sunday a month as prayer days spent in silence with extended hours of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.” (sistersoflife.org)
I received the most recent issue of their newsletter “Imprint” and was surprised and chuckled when I read:
“Monsignor Vincent Foy, the legendary Canadian pro-life champion, had taken a fall. The Sisters visited him regularly for a few weeks as he lay in recovery in the lCU. One week, two novices went with Sr. Antoniana to visit Monsignor. Sister had become so used to the routine that she sailed past the nursing station to Monsignor's room. Usually, he was alone, but this time, there was a distraught-looking couple with him. Monsignor had taken a turn for the worse. His broad frame was significantly diminished, he was on a ventilator, and wore a large oxygen mask that covered most of his face. Only his white hair remained recognizable. Sr. Antoniana went to his side and tenderly clasped his hand. ‘Monsignor Foy, the Sisters are here. We are praying for you. We have two novices from New York here praying for you, too.’ The couple seemed confused, but grateful. One of the nurses overheard and exclaimed, ‘That’s not Monsignor! That's Loretta!’ Sr. Antoniana froze. The woman motioned to the patient. ‘This is my mother!’ Let's just say, Sister wanted to sink into a hole. Trying to recover from her piercing embarrassment and calling on the Holy Spirit, she said, ‘This is not a mistake! God wanted us to be here. Would you like to pray?’ With tears in their eyes, the couple leaned in to pray for a full restoration of Loretta's health, to hear words of hope, and to receive miraculous medals. After praying, the husband began to laugh: ‘Yeah, I thought “Monsignor” was a term of endearment or a nickname you had given Loretta!’ Later, upon hearing the whole ordeal, the real Monsignor Foy, who had been in low spirits, howled and howled with delight.”
I am deeply grateful to the Sisters for visiting me when I was in crisis in the hospital, for praying the Divine Office with me and for the gift of this congregation to the Church.
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Let us pray for vocations to this order and for their important work. Their Visitation Mission in Canada is located at: Sisters of Life Centre, St. Catherine of Siena, 1099 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON, M4J 1M5 (416) 463-2722, Toll Free 1(877) 543-3380 and St. Joseph’s Convent, 172 Leslie St, Toronto, ON, M4M 3C7, www.sistersoflife.org
As outlined on their website, laypersons are welcome to join as “co-workers” ranging from praying as a Spiritual Guardian to various apostolic works of mercy such as helping pregnant women.
For more of Msgr. Vincent Foy's writings, visit his website at www.msgrfoy.com.