L-R IHM Sisters- Giovana Fuentes Bendivez, Mindy Welding, Denise Montagne, Mary Elaine Anderson, and Amanda Del Valle sorting socks for the homeless with THE JOY OF SOX.

Whole communities of consecrated women religious have blessed the Diocese of Scranton. In fact, the sisters were here before Scranton became a diocese.

These dedicated sisters arrived with a mission to serve the needs of the people of northeastern Pennsylvania and change their world for the better. They are celebrating National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14, 2021.

For the sisters, it is a time to articulate their charism (their unique spirit), to reach out to new people and to remind the people of our community that they love them and still serve them in any way they can. Sisters invite people to be in touch with them and to reach out in service to others to pay back and to pay forward.

As Sister Draru Mary Cecilia, LSMIG, Executive Director of the African Sisters Education Collaborative, (ASEC) says in her article, “During Catholic Sisters Week, we celebrate the charism of the sisters, which is the unique gift God entrusted to each congregation to share with humanity. We celebrate their spirituality, a specific divine aspect of God that drives sisters’ altruistic service to humanity and the mission into which God invites them…”

Eldercare has become a primary ministry for the Sisters of St. Cyril and Methodius. Sister Madonna Figura spends time with their dear Sister Susan.

ASEC is a perfect model of the way Sisters meet needs today – i.e. collaboratively. It is something the pandemic is teaching our world, but it something the sisters have known all along.  We are better together!

Whether sisters are in Archbald or Africa, when they come together in prayer, in unconditional love, joyfully reaching out to the smallest needs or the largest endeavors, they CAN change the word! They already have!

It starts with a mission to which God invites them in prayer, the foundation of all good works.  God called, and the sisters began to come to northeastern Pennsylvania – Sisters of Christian Charity, Sisters of Mercy, Franciscans, Religious Teachers Filippini, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHMs), Sisters of St. Cyril and Methodius – to teach the children the faith and the tools of life-long learning, and to keep them safe.

Sisters opened hospitals and health clinics, day cares, alternative schools, high schools, nursing schools, colleges, and universities. For the little ones, sisters set up day cares, orphanages, adoption agencies, residences and day centers for special needs children and adults, homes for impoverished pregnant women, mother infant homes for young and desperate new moms, shelters for homeless women and children.

A happy, energetic, prayerful community of eight Sisters of Christian Charity who live together at St. Nicholas Convent and staff various ministries in the Wilkes-Barre area. Left to Right: S. Marie Jose, S. Josephine, S. Mary Theresa, S. Anna, S. Maria, S. Ellen, S. Chiara Marie, S. Maria Angeline celebrating Vietnamese New Year.

The needs are still endless, soup kitchens for the hungry, food pantries, Friends of the Poor for those who fall through the cracks. All the communities who came lent a hand in the parishes, helping to build the American church and accompany the people on their journey of faith, on the privileged task of raising children and caring for elders.

Throughout diocesan history, the contemplative Passionist Nuns and the retired elders of all the congregations provided the powerhouse of prayer that sustained the grand collaboration surging among generous women of faith who became the face of God among the people of the diocese.

Today, native African sisters are changing the face of Africa through participation in ASEC, an international collaborative ministry founded by American Sisters. How proud and happy we are to cheer on their marvelous accomplishments through diligent study, hard work, creative energy and trained leadership.

Together, Sisters are a force for good in our world. With the help of God, the support of their communities and the generosity of people of good will, sisters have something to celebrate, during not only this National Catholic Sisters Week, but every day of their lives.

Sister Mary Theresa watches carefully as one of the little students receives ashes during the COVID pandemic.

Celebrate with the Sisters; be in touch with a sister who made a difference in your life, support their ministries and if you feel called, become a sister yourself!

As a symbol that little things count and make a difference in many lives, in celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week, the IHM Sisters are partnering with “The Joy of Sox.” Socks are the number one request from those who are homeless!  It is important for the health and wellbeing of feet to have dry, warm, clean socks.

In collaboration with “The Joy of Sox” can you provide new socks for those who cannot always afford them?

IHMs will collect new socks for the following local agencies: Saint Francis Soup Kitchen, Saint Joseph Baby pantry, McAuley Center for Homeless Women and Children, NEPA Youth Shelter, The Women’s Resource Center, and Friends of the Poor.

Drop donations at the side door of McCarty Hall (1409 College Avenue) just inside the side gate of Marywood University, first house on the left.