Life continues to evolve
Sisters of St. Martha offer wisdom, prayerful presence
We, the Sisters of St. Martha, are inspired by God’s graciousness, hear, embrace and respond to the cry for gospel hospitality.
Our mission statement speaks to our 115-year history of dedicated service to the church and the people of God.
We first responded to this cry for gospel hospitality in 1900 at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish where we welcomed the students and priests through our presence and by providing the service of household management.
It did not take long for the young congregation to hear and embrace a new cry for gospel hospitality as nurses and teachers, followed by our pioneering work in the field of social work. As founding members of the Antigonish Movement we have always been with, and for the people, meeting them where they are.
Today we continue to respond in ways that give life to the val- ues to which we have committed ourselves — hospitality; communion; consecrated life; justice; service; simplicity; collaboration; stewardship.
Our 2014 direction statement says we strive to offer our “life as mission” by being “pockets of hope” in our world in whatever way we are able. A core aspect of this life in community is a commitment to prayer, both communally and personally, from which comes the strength and courage to be actively engaged in creating the space where hope can be found as we move into the unknown future.
This movement into the future is not without pain and loss. We no longer see the large numbers of women entering. In fact those who do choose to enter religious life today are older and come with a wide range of life experiences, personally and professionally. However, out of this loss of what once was comes the strength of what is. The wisdom, creativity and prayerful determination of our Martha Sisters helped give shape to so many institutions, programs and community organizations. We see their legacy in hospitals, schools, social service agencies, universities and parishes.
Today we have so much with which to move forward. Our Martha way of life continues to offer a different world view, an alternate way to approach the questions and issues of our time. Those who say ‘yes’ to religious life today are saying ‘yes’ to collaborating with other religions and with people of like mind, saying ‘ yes’ to being agents of change, and “to move into the future as women of undaunted hope,” as our vision statement says.
As we move into the future we are engaged in ministries that offer spiritual growth through retreats and spiritual direction; care for the person through foot care, street ministry, pastoral care and a ministry of presence; building right relationships through various social justice commitments; raising awareness around ecological issues through our commitment to education and care for Earth.
As I reflect on my ongoing personal ‘yes’ to living my life as a Sister of St. Martha I am aware of being part of something that continues to evolve. This fills me with such hope. The opportunities that I have been given to be about building the kingdom of God are beyond what I would have ever imagined.
These “Women of Martha” with whom I am blessed to share my life continue to offer wisdom and a prayerful presence wherever they find themselves.
Pope Francis invites us to “celebrate the past with gratitude, live the present with passion and embrace the future with hope.” What a wonderful way to celebrate and acknowledge the gift that religious life is to the world.
If you feel inspired to join us in being a #pocketofhope in our world come and see us.