February 9, 2018

Positivity: Holy habits — what school sisters bring to the classroom

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Denver:

Feb 2, 2018 / 05:00 am

In Lincoln, Nebraska, you can tell the seasons by the habits of the School Sisters of Christ the King.

It’s not really summer until you spot a “CK Sister”, as they are affectionately known, walking around in her lighter blue summer habit.

But when a CK sister is donning her dark blue habit, that means the months are turning colder. And when the dark blue habits come out, you can find almost every CK sister in a classroom, teaching in one of the 27 Catholic elementary schools in the diocese.

Religious school sisters are a fairly common sight in the Diocese of Lincoln, which has two diocesan orders of women religious – the Christ the King Sisters as well as the grey-habited Marian sisters, many of whom can also be found teaching in the local Catholic schools.

In much of the rest of the country, however, religious sisters are something of a rare novelty – though they used to be a much more common sight in the United States.

In 1965, there were nearly 180,000 women religious in the United States, many of them school teachers, according to data from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate out of Georgetown University.

By 2014, there were less than 50,000 religious sisters, the numbers having steadily declined over the past half-century in the post-Vatican II upheaval that was felt in many parts of the Church around the world.

It was in the midst of this upheaval and decline that Bishop Glennon Patrick Flavin, then of Lincoln, decided to found the Christ the King Sisters as a religious order dedicated specifically to teaching children.

“He noticed that there were a good number of sisters in our schools in the 50’s and 60’s, but by the 70’s the sisters were starting to pull out of our classrooms,” Sr. Mary Cecilia, a Christ the King Sister, told CNA.

Bishop Flavin had difficulty finding already-established religious orders that were able to come to the Diocese of Lincoln, and eventually felt called to found a diocesan order dedicated specifically to teaching, Sr. Mary Cecilia said.

“He knew that our seminaries were growing and increasing in number, and he thought if the Lord was calling this many young men to serve as priests then he was probably calling young women to serve as sisters also,” she said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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