After 85 years of religious life, Sister of Charity of Nazareth Evelyn Hurley — who at age 103 still gets out and about — is grateful for her vocation.
“God has been so exceedingly good to me. I’m so grateful for my vocation and for everything God has given to me. I couldn’t be happier,” she told Record reporter Jessica Able recently.
Sister Hurley reflected on her 85 years as a vowed religious prior to the World Day for Consecrated Life Mass celebrated at St. Gregory Church Feb. 2. She was one of 62 women and men who were recognized during the liturgy for milestone years as religious.
In addition to Sister Hurley, Sister of Loretto Genevieve Cavanaugh marked 80 years; six religious marked 75 years; another 14 marked 70 years and 28 celebrated 60 years of religious life.
What dedication. What sacrifice.
Praising the jubilarians, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz noted during the Feb. 2 Mass that Sister Hurley and the other jubilarians serve in answer to a call from Christ.
“Those of you who have special vocations, you say yes everyday,” he said. “All of us are witnesses to it and the church exalts today in your recommitment.”
Similarly, Pope Francis’ homily for the occasion noted that the choice to dedicate your life to following God is a daily decision, not a one-time deal.
Christians encounter Jesus, he said, through concrete events “every day; not every now and then.”
The pope, who entered the Jesuit novitiate more than 60 years ago, also noted that a vocation to consecrated life isn’t a private matter.
“If we remember our fundamental encounter with the Lord, we realize that it did not arise as a private matter between us and God. No, it blossomed in the believing people, alongside so many brothers and sisters, in precise times and places.”
It’s interesting to think that the diocesan clergy and laity have a role to play in the lives of the men and women in consecrated life. We live, worship and grow alongside them, often as they lift us up.
In the Archdiocese of Louisville, men and women religious serve in a variety of ways, including in parishes, schools and social services.
They serve the poor at such places as Sister Visitor Center. They teach in Catholic grade and high schools. They serve in diocesan offices and in health care.
They live among us, encountering Jesus in their every day lives through their service to us.
Because of our deep connection to their lives, we have an opportunity to show our gratitude and help nurture their vocations by praying for them, accompanying them in their work and supporting their ministries.
We also have the opportunity to nurture young men and women who are in discernment to consecrated life.
Pope Francis added in his homily on the World Day for Consecrated Life, the vocation to consecrated life “blossoms and blooms in the church” when young people are encouraged by their elders.
We can help them find the same happiness and gratitude that Sister Hurley has experienced in her life.
What a joy that would be.