Who are Consecrated Women?
Consecrated women dedicate their entire lives to God and the Church through the public profession of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. There are three main forms of consecrated life for women represented in the Archdiocese of St. Louis:
- Active, or apostolic, religious sisters who live a life of community, prayer and service to the world in apostolates such as education, healthcare, missionary outreach and social service;
- Contemplative nuns who devote their lives to prayer and sacrifice by living in community, detached from worldly preoccupations; and
- Consecrated virgins who surrender the joys of marriage and family life to more fully devote their lives to serving God and humanity.
There are other possible forms of consecrated life in the Archdiocese. Members of the Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King serve the poor in rural Missouri as vowed women. Members of Regnum Christi are lay consecrated women who serve Christ and the Church as educators. Hermits are those called to a life of prayer, secluded from other people and worldly concerns.
Communities of Consecrated Women Serving in the Archdiocese
More than 1,340 religious women belonging to 50-plus communities serve in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Each community has a special charism. For more information about the congregations of Men and Women Religious serving in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, click on the Religious Orders - Listing link on the menu at the left of this page.
Life as a Consecrated Women
“Love of God and love of Neighbor” – Sr. Mary Charles Buford
Sixty years after entering the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Sister Mary Charles Buford, C.S.J., enthusiastically continues her ministry as the executive director of the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation, a position she has held since 1977. The Federation strives to strengthen the South St. Louis neighborhood by providing residents with housing assistance, food and clothing outreach, a literacy program and a senior center. Sister Mary Charles experiences God’s fidelity in the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph, “love of God and love of neighbor.”
“Strength,” says Sister Mary Charles, “comes from prayer, especially daily Liturgy, and the support of knowing, living, and working with other Sisters of St. Joseph and religious in the Church.” With these resources, Sister finds, “Every day becomes one of peace and love of God.”
“My constant, my rock” – Sr. Pamela Marie Falter, OSF
Since professing her vows as a Franciscan Sister of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sister Pamela Marie Falter, O.S.F., has devoted 25 years to a ministry of social service and education. Sister finds a grateful awareness of God’s fidelity in times of discernment and transition; she notes, “Through various changes in my ministry, congregational decisions, and the challenges and joys of daily life, God has been my constant, my rock.” In her current position as a counselor to the homeless at St. Patrick’s Center, Sister Pamela Marie finds strength in her “ever-growing ability to recognize God's voice through prayer, Scripture, friends and strangers.”
“Alive in God” – Cathey Maley
Another form of consecrated life, that of a consecrated virgin, has been embraced by Cathy Maley as a unique way to commit her life to God. “I wondered what difference my vocation would really make since I was already living a private commitment to the Lord,” says Cathy. “In faith, I implored the Lord to open to me the floodgates of His love, mercy and grace. I have realized the unfolding of the grace of consecration, and it is extraordinary. For the first time in my life, I feel so alive in God and emboldened to proclaim with my life the mystery of love of Jesus, the Bridegroom, for His Church.”
A Preacher's Prayer
By Sr. Carla Mae Streeter, OP
I perch on his Rock
Eyes open wide
To catch a glimpse of Him
Hidden among the human reeds.
Heart in my throat
I open wide
To be fed
And to trumpet Truth
with varied voices.
Hidden inside each
That I meet
Is a Prince.
Release Him with a Holy Kiss!
Show me how
To give words
To the Word.