Today, besides a strong legacy of ministries, these Charity congregations are marked by an abundance of elderly members. As followers of Jesus in the Vincentian way, our sisters have devoted their entire lives to ministry: educating, caring for, reaching out to, and lifting up those most in need. Now, as limitations of age, health and energy call them to a different way of living the mission, we can see profound, painful, but also grace-filled transformations at work. What wisdom from the Charity heritage supports everyone in these transformations? What do humility, simplicity and charity look like as anyone tries to follow the way of Charity in aging?
Sister Regina Bechtle, SC explores these questions in her article, Charity Impels: Reclaiming and Rethinking the Vincentian Charism as We Age, written for the National Religious Retirement Office. What we learn from her insightful writing is that:
- There are many ways to be in mission, regardless of age
- No matter what our place in life or our state of health we must “not be upset if things are not as [we] would want them to be” (St. Louise)
- Young or old we must bear one another’s burdens with patience
- We are all both givers and receivers; at the heart of service is mutuality
- As we age, we can slow down and begin to value the ministry of peaceful prayer and presence (wearing ourselves out is not the only way to live the mission of charity)
Let us all pray for the courage to face our fears of aging and to meet the grace of elderhood!
To read the full article, click the link below:
Sr. Regina’s article was originally published in the Winter 2017 National Religious Retirement Office Newsletter. It is offered here with permission from Sr. Stephanie Still, PBVM, Executive Director. www.usccb.org/nrro