Catholic Sisters Week is a reminder of mission: to radiate the Light of Christ
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
The message was there before the retreat began.
I remember that individually directed retreat, made many years ago, when the Sister directing me wanted to meet beforehand, just to get acquainted. I briefly explained to her that I really felt like I was in a desert. Things had happened in the last few weeks that led to my having unresolved issues and a lot of questions. I told her that if she could just show me a cactus, that would be enough. My director then quoted a sentence about Jesus written by St. Paul, and it changed everything. It was a retreat filled with joy and wonder, as I pondered the Story of Jesus in a whole new light.
Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to accompany Him to the summit of Mt. Tabor, where He was transfigured before them. Against the background of the Law and the prophets, they came to see Jesus in a whole new light. They experienced a vision of Jesus that would truly enlighten their faith as they would proceed toward Jerusalem and His Passion.
As we celebrate Catholic Sisters Week, we recall the many ways in which Sisters in our country have revealed the Light of Christ to so many people: the poor, the orphaned, the sick, the uneducated, the immigrants, the Native Americans. They have made that Light visible through their services as teachers, nurses, liturgists, pastoral ministers, and social justice advocates. Transformed by personal and communal prayer, the inner radiance flowing from their hearts has been a beacon leading others to know the glory of the Risen Lord.
My vision of Jesus profoundly changed on that retreat I made a few decades ago. Because of that, I changed. Is that not the life of a Sister – to continually ascend the mountain of contemplation, to emerge transfigured, and to draw others into the Light of His Presence?