“Their enthusiasm for life is just so plain to see. Even when they are just walking down the street they seem to radiate a sense of joy”.
The comment, from a student on Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus, was typical of the spontaneous response to a group of four Sisters of Life who spent a week visiting both the Sydney and Fremantle Campuses recently for a series forums, seminars and informal get togethers with students, staff and community members.
The Sisters - Antoniana Maria, Jeanne Marie, Zelie Maria and Mary Grace - effortlessly facilitated the sessions, designed to help everyone encounter God’s love and to experience a renewed sense of hope and meaning, even in time of confusion and suffering.
The idea to establish the Sisters of Life was first conceived by Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor of New York following a visit to the remains of a Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, Germany which left him dismayed at how human beings could treat each other.
He decided to begin a new religious community, one dedicated to the promotion of pro-life causes and specifically for an end to abortion and euthanasia.
The Sisters of Life was established in 1991 with eight foundation Sisters and became a formal religious institute in 2004.
Today, the Order has 110 Sisters based in convents in Canada and New York. The Visitation Mission is considered their most important work where they provide both emotional and practical support each year to more than 1,000 women who are experiencing crisis pregnancy.
Highlights of their visit to Notre Dame campuses between May 17-25 (and their first to the Fremantle Campus!) included a number of events focussed on the inherent dignity of each person including meeting with students from the schools of Medicine and Nursing and formation seminars for Notre Dame staff and employees of Catholic agencies.
“The enthusiasm that the Sisters brought to our campuses in Sydney and Fremantle was very infectious and I know the events left a hugely positive impact on many people,” said Professor Selma Alliex, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of Fremantle Campus.
“Everyone found their stories really moving and heartfelt - it gave them a unique perspective on themselves and helped them to reflect on their own stories.”
“Overall I think we will now look at every new situation in a very different way.”
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