Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicago’s Old St. Patrick’s Church hosts prayer service for women religious

Hundreds of women religious together with their supporters filled Old St. Patrick’s Church outside of Chicago’s Loop the evening of May 10 for a Prayer Service to celebrate and remember all the good works, holiness and kindness of religious sisters past and present. Father Tom Hurley, Old St. Pat’s pastor welcomed the throng with a story of Sr. Carolyn, a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, he said acted as a “bridge” for school kids. By this he meant that Sr. Carolyn actually used her back as a bridge to help students escape from the December 1958 Our Lady of the Angels School fire that killed 92 children and 3 nuns. That metaphor echoed throughout the service––that our religious sisters act as a bridge to God.

“Blessed Are They: A Celebration of Women Religious” was in the planning stages by parish staff for some time, but as Fr. Hurley noted in his opening welcome, an unforeseen event speeded up the timing of the service.

The service took on the tone of a rally with long rounds of applause, whistles, and foot-stomping from the congregation as organizers and other lay people told stories, both humorous and profound, of their experiences and interaction with the sisters in schools, hospitals, soup kitchens and wherever the sisters minister––they often doing the “heavy lifting” for the Church.

The service concluded with a blessing by the congregation of the sisters who were asked to gather in the sanctuary. Finally, the sisters held out their arms to bless the crowd. 

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