The Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown were one of dozens of Catholic Sister communities nationwide taking part in National Catholic Sisters Week (#2019NCSW) celebrations last week.
Our originally planned event was shortened due to the timing with our local college’s spring break. However, that didn’t take away from the spirit and involvement!
Seven young women gathered at our Motherhouse in Canfield, Ohio, where Sister Erin Zubal from the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland (and graduate of Ursuline High School of Youngstown) shared her journey toward becoming an Ursuline Sister. Our own Sisters Nancy Pawlen and Norma Raupple told their stories, too. The group included women who’ve previously or currently volunteer with us and those interested in learning about our community.
I wasn’t going to attend the event, but due to an unforeseen circumstance, I was asked to come to take photographs and video. Excited to experience the event as a bystander, I had not intended to be emotionally moved and to participate.
I am, by no means, afraid of sharing my own life story. I do so when I feel my participation may lead to a better understanding, a commonality, spark involvement or discussion. When the Sisters began discussing NETWORK Catholic Lobby for Social Justice, I felt drawn to speak up. NETWORK is essentially how Sisters across the United States lobby politicians for positive change in affordable housing, living wages, healthcare, immigration reform, and other human rights issues.
Nearly every stance NETWORK embraces are things I have personally researched, tried to help others understand, and want to change. I was drawn to participate in the National Catholic Sisters Week discussion due to the ideals I am passionate about. Sharing my own story helps others to view controversial topics in a different light. I believe we need change, not just on the governmental level, but in the mindset of those who harbor ignorance and hatred for fellow humans.
Working with and for women that have such drive to push for positive change with society, hold their own views, and fight for them, all while following in Ursuline Sisters' founder St. Angela Merici’s footsteps, encases so much more value to me than just a paycheck.
The reward is greater. It is fulfillment, a calling, a blessing… something far more than just being grateful.