Office of Consecrated Life

Scroll down for news from the Office of Consecrated Life . . .  

  •  National Catholic Sisters Week: Sisters Reflect on their Vocations
  •  Coming May 10: Consecrated Life - Time of Reflection & Prayer
  • 5th Annual Archbishop's Gospel of Life Prayer Breakfast, May 22
  • PHOTO RECAP: 2013 Mass for Consecrated Life
  • Archbishop Robert Carlson calls on religious and laity to stand strong for respecting life in the face of government health care mandate 

Welcome to the Office of Consecrated Life

On behalf Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and the men and women religious serving in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we welcome you to the Office of Consecrated Life. Through the profession of vows as priests, brothers, sisters, contemplative nuns, consecrated virgins and hermits, our men and women in consecrated life strive to make Christ present in our midst through prayer, sacrifice and ministries including education, healthcare and social service. We invite you to learn more about the 80 congregations of religious represented in the St. Louis Archdiocese by browsing through our website using the links on the lefthand side of the screen. And, if you are considering religious life, we hope you will visit the website of the Office of Vocations as you discern the special plan that God has for your life. 

Latest News

National Catholic Sisters Week: Sisters Reflect on their Vocations

During National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14, the Office of Consecrated Life salutes over 1300 women religious serving in 55 congregations in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  The ministires of these congregations include teaching, social work, health care contemplative prayer and pastoral care.   Here are just a few of their stories . . .

Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sister Bridget Smith shares a religion lesson with student Olivia Krueger at Sacred Heart Villa.

Sister Bridget Smith, A.S.C.J.

“When I grew up in Seven Holy Founders parish, I had an incredible Sister as a first-grade teacher.  She taught us to pray to God everyday so we would know our true vocations.  After receiving the Eucharist on my First Communion day, I prayed that God would send me a sign to let me know if He wanted me to be a Sister.  When I opened my eyes, my vision was fixed on a tall, white statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  My heart was so excited -  I felt Jesus was telling me to be a Sister so I could share his love with everyone. Later, at Cor Jesu Academy, I came to know the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I loved their enthusiasm for their community and for God’s people, and I witnessed the compassionate care they gave to the girls and their families.  When I graduated in 1979, I entered the community.  Today, I teach kindergarten at Sacred Heart Villa School on “the Hill.”  My favorite part of the day is time at the prayer table and giving religious lessons.  At 4 and 5 years old, my students are so open to their faith and want so much to please Jesus.  I find myself being an instrument of God’s grace and love to the children and families I serve.  It is very rewarding to see them open their hearts to the love of Jesus.”

Little Sisters of the Poor

Sisters Marguerite Burke, Michael Mugan and Mildred Ryan serve over 100 residents at the Little Sisters of the Poor - St. Louis Residence in north city. 

Sister Marguerite Burke, l.s.p.

Kitchen and Dining Room Coordinator

“During my high school years, I did not feel called to religious life, but I did volunteer at a Little Sisters’ Home on the weekends. The Sisters taught me to see Christ in the elderly and to treat them as Christ Himself. Without even realizing it, I began to picture my life as a Little Sister. When I look back now, I realize there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. There is nothing so gratifying as to see a smile on the face of a lonely resident!”

Sister Michael Mugan, l.s.p.

Administration and Collection

“I’ve always had affinity for older people and was attracted to the Little Sisters because of their devotedness and down-to-earth way of being with us, their residents and each other.  My current ministry is a mixture of administration and ‘collecting’ (‘begging’ in other words). The first Little Sisters I met were collecting in a corner grocery store, and I hid behind the cash register as they spoke to the owner.  I was asked to help them, and they invited me to joining their teen volunteers.  A girlfriend and I dared each other into trying it, and here we both are!”

Sister Mildred Ryan, l.s.p.

Nursing Coordinator

“When I was 10 years old, I was invited to go with other girls to spend a weekend helping the Little Sisters.  While watching and helping a Sister care for a resident in the infirmary, I knew that was what I wanted – to care for Christ’s elderly poor.  I had a great love for the elderly, and the Sisters had a joy that was unalterable.  In the mist of work, prayer and recreation, they always had a smile on their faces, and you just knew they were happy.  Today, I am in charge of a 15-bed unit of residents who need minimal assistance.  They have wonderful stories to tell and a need to tell them.  Working in our apostolate 24/7 can be difficult, but we sing the Divine Office three times a day, and it gives us the spiritual and physical strength we need to carry out the charism of our foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan."

Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd

 Sister Frances Marie Ellul, C.G.S.

Contemplative Sister

"I was born in Malta, and in my youth, when the parish priest would bring nuns to talk about religious life, I never attended because I was fearful and resistant.  Later, I worked for the British Navy for 15 years and as a corporate secretary, but, I came to know my vocation in 1978 through the charismatic movement.  It helped me become closer to God through daily reflection and prayer.  At the suggestion of my spiritual director, I entered the Good Shepherd congregation to work with troubled girls and women.  I began to feel strongly that I’d like to offer my life for all whom we serve in contemplative prayer.  In 1997, I transferred from an apostolic to a contemplative sister and was sent to the United States.  I now serve as a spiritual director and also work and journey with our lay associates. When I am with a directee, the Holy Spirit is the real Spiritual Director; I am only his instrument.  God is our Good Shepherd and  takes care of his sheep.  To walk in the footsteps of Jesus is always rewarding."

Missionaries of Charity

Sister Celine Rose, M.C.

“When I was a little child, my parents would give money to the Sisters assisting Vietnamese refugees.   When I said I’d like to do that and receive all that money, my father gently told me that the Sisters had given their lives up out of love for God and the money was for those they served.  Still, I noticed the joy on their faces.  After college, I was able to meet Mother Teresa when I worked for an employer who was a benefactor of the Missionaries of Charity in Hong Kong. Mother gave me a big blessing and invited me to come as a volunteer. On June 6th, I said yes which, coincidentally, was the day when the Sisters accept aspirants. I was not planning to be a Sister, but as I worked with them and reflected, I was  aware of what Jesus was telling me. When I returned to the Phillippines, I decided to join but my parents were not in favor.  Finally my father said, if God wants you to be a Sister, who am I to say no. I told my parents that I’d try it for a few months, and now I’ve been a Sister for 18 years!  It has been an experience of true joy. Our work can be hard and humble, but we do it by God’s grace.  When my father died in 2002, he was very happy about my decision.”

National Catholic Sisters Week - continued

School Sisters of Notre Dame

Sister Gail Guelker and students Amanda Juegst (left) and Mary Weber (right) attend the Notre Dame Foundation Day Mass at Notre Dame High School. 

Sr. Gail Guelker, S.S.N.D.

President, Notre Dame High School

"I chose to become a Sister because of the influence of School Sisters of Notre Dame who shared not only their educational expertise, but their real love of life and their faith. I was blessed to have teachers who built my confidence, challenged me to be my best self and always to share what I had been given with others." 



Carmelite Sisters of Trivandrum

Sr. Ruby Devassy (left), Sr. Lissy V. Ouseph and Sr. Priscilla Ferreira display some of their fresh-baked cookies, a favorite of Kenrick-Glennon seminarians!

Sr. Ruby Devassy, C.C.R.

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

"The charism of our congregation is 'prayer and contemplation in action.'  At the seminary, we nourish both the body and spirit of the seminarians.  We cook but we also pray for God to bless each one of them and make them good priests.  The Carmelite Sisters of Trivandrum work in hospitals, schools, orphanages and many other ministries.  I was a teacher first, and I loved teaching.  Then I became a registered nurse at a hospital in India for very poor, poor people.  Often I would stay with patients through the night.  Whenever a patient would die in my arms, I would think, yes, Jesus has called me to do this.  I have enjoyed every bit of religious life."

Sr. Priscilla Ferreira, C.C.R.

 "When I was in fifth grade, I studied with the Carmelite sisters.  One of the sisters, my teacher, would come to my house to collect flowers for the chapel.  She was so kind to my family and knew all of us.  When I was in eighth grade, I expressed my desire to become a sister, and I considered several different congregations.  I decided to become a Carmelite sister in gratitude for all they had taught me.  Now, I serve the priests and seminarians where I feel much love and gratitude every day.  We pray for them and their vocations, and they pray for us and our families."

Franciscan Sisters of Mary

Sr. Katheen Buchheit on one of her medical mission trips to Guatemala and Belize. Her ministry has included serving as a registered nurse and nurse midwife.

 Sr. Kathleen Buchheit, F.S.M.

Director of Mission Integration

"From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to be a sister. My aunt, Sr. Flora, always inspired me. She always made me feel very special, and she had a wonderful sense of humor. Later in high school, I worked at St. Mary’s in the pharmacy. I saw sisters who were very human and happy. I considered that I wanted the same, to be happy and to serve in a healing ministry. Today, I continue to be inspired by my co-workers at SSM Health Care."





Sr. Sherri Coleman currently provides compassionate and healing care through her and Sr. André Evanicsko’s ministry of therapeutic massage, PRISM.

Sherri Coleman, F.S.M.


"As I look back to my teens and early 20s, it’s especially apparent how God guided me to where I was meant to be. It was a time of searching and considering where I fit in life. I felt an openness during this time and experienced new beginnings. After two years of college, I relocated from my hometown to a larger city for a job. God put wonderful people in my life, and I was able to discern with them about my vocation. God provided opportunities and gave me the grace to respond to varied experiences. I sensed that doors were opening that led me to religious life. With support from family and friends, I became more comfortable and peaceful in making the decision to enter a religious congregation."


Daughters of St. Paul

Sr. Cynthia Guza (left) arranges merchandise with Sr. Mary Joan Baldino at Pauline Books and Media, while postulants Putri Mamesah, Julie Turner and Danielle Lussier prepare books for a traveling display.

Sister Cynthia Guza, F.S.P.

Manager, Pauline Books and Media, St. Louis.

“As an eight year old child, I received a Catholic magazine which related the story of St. Theresa of the Little Flower. I felt attracted to her life with God and, when asked in class, I put up my hand (that I was interested). Because of the influence of good reading on me, I understood the power of the written word. In God's providence, I joined the Daughters of St. Paul who dedicate their lives to spreading the Gospel message together with their Sisters, and who seek a life of union with God. Knowing that He lives and acts through us and touches many people through our mission gives me a joy beyond measure. How wonderful it is to be part of something much bigger than myself!”

Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union

Sr. Peggy Moore helps student Jena Brophy with a theology lesson at Ursuline Academy of St. Louis.

Sr. Peggy Moore

Ursuline Academy of St. Louis

“Looking back, what helped me decide to become an Ursuline Sister is the same thing that has helped me continue . . . a sense of the rightness of the choice. I am someone who has always had a longing for more—what’s here is wonderful, but never enough. I think it is part of what drew me to Ursuline life. In this life there is the opportunity to seek and know God more deeply; there is always more of God’s love to experience, and there is the gift of being able to work directly to bring that love into concrete expression in the world. What I remember most clearly from the Ursuline Sisters I knew when I was in high school is the joy I saw in them and their delight in being together. That certainly drew me. As I’ve lived this life I’ve had opportunities to experience both the joy it can bring and the wonderful companionship of dedicated, gifted women. My parents raised me to be a woman of faith, as they were people of faith. That faith, along with their encouragement, was an important part of my decision to be an Ursuline. My family and friends agreed with me that Ursuline life was a good choice, and their support has helped sustain me.”

In addition to ministering in educaiton, Sr. Elisa Ryan (right) has served in leadership for the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union both regionally and internationally.  She currently serves as co-director of vocations with Sr. Jean Hopman (left).

Sr. Elisa Ryan, O.S.U.

Co-Director of Vocations, U.S. Provinces

 “Recently a sophomore at Ursuline Academy in Dallas asked, ‘What do you love most about being an Ursuline?’  I could answer immediately—having sisters all over the world. At the Mass for the Feast of St. Angela Merici, our foundress, at our school in St. Louis, candles were lit to represent all who share Angela’s spirit worldwide. We prayed with special concern for our six Ukrainian and 12 Polish Ursulines serving in the Ukraine, for peace for them and the people they serve. My thought was, how blessed we are to be linked to them through Angela. What I really love most, of course, is Jesus. But having been called to follow him in company with the Ursulines means that I have global connections with people I call sisters!” 

5th Annual Archbishop's Gospel of Life Prayer Breakfast, May 22

Men and women religious are invited to attend the fifth annual Gospel of Life Prayer Breakfast at the Chase Park Plaza Khorassan Ballroom on Thursday, May 22.  The event, which is sponsored by the St. Louis Chapter of Legatus, will feature Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, as the keynote speaker.  Mass will be celebrated at 6:30 a.m., and a hot breakfast will be served at 7:00 a.m.  Complimentary self-parking is available. Tables of ten ($350) may be reserved no later than May 10 at  For more information, please click on - Prayer Breakfast Flyer - 2014.pdf or call 314-792-7414.  Last year’s Gospel of Life Prayer Breakfast was attended by more than 600 people. 

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