Sisters from nine different communities of women religious in the Archdiocese of San Francisco were honored March 12 at a special Mass commemorating National Catholic Sisters Week at St. Patrick Parish in Larkspur. Back from left: Sister Judith Benkert, OP (Adrian); Sister Pat Hunter, SNJM; Sister Jeanette Lombardi, OSU; Sister Colleen Kern, SNJM; Sister Jean Marie Fernandez, RGS; Sister Dee Myers, BVM; Sister Celeste Arbuckle, SSS; Sister Diane Smith, OP (San Rafael). Front row from left: Sister Maggie Glynn, FSP; Sister Brigid Noonan, OP (San Rafael); Sister Liz Schille, RGS; Sister Linda Hebert, CSN. (Courtesy photo)
March 23, 2017
Members of nine different communities of women religious from all three counties of the Archdiocese of San Francisco were honored by the St. Patrick Parish community in Larkspur on March 12 at a special Mass commemorating National Catholic Sisters Week.
The parish made the celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week March 8-14 an opportunity to recognize the sisters for their service and witness in a Mass celebrated by Msgr. Michael Padazinski, pastor. Parishioners were invited to an after-Mass hospitality hour with the sisters to meet them personally and hear their stories.
“These women are but a small sampling of the many great witnesses who live their vocation in service to the Gospel,” said Msgr. Padazinski. “Living out their charisms has blessed our archdiocese and I hope that other young women will seriously consider a vocation to the religious life.”
Over 200 people came to St. Patrick’s 10 a.m. Mass to greet the Catholic sisters who accepted the parish’s invitation. The communities present included Sisters of Social Service, Adrian Dominicans, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, Sisters of Nazareth, Franciscan Sisters of Peace, Ursuline Sisters, and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The annual celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week began only three years ago as part of National Women’s History Month. NCSW is supported by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation which in 2015 conducted research that showed the majority of U.S. Americans, including Catholics, lacked a basic knowledge and understanding of Catholic sisters’ work and daily lives. Many people, especially young people, reported never having met a Catholic sister.
In the closing remarks of the Mass, Msgr. Padazinski shared his personal gratitude and appreciation for the sisters who educated him.
“I recall fondly those sisters, they were an inspiration to me and helped me discern my call to the priesthood,” he said. He encouraged those who might be curious about religious life to take the opportunity to chat with the sisters.
St. Patrick parishioner Peggy Walker said she was educated at St. Brigid School by the BVM sisters, at St. Raphael by the Dominican Sisters, and at St. Anselm and Marin Catholic by the Holy Name Sisters. She believes she was better because of their influence.
“We were ‘doers’ because the sisters were our mentors,” she said.