Pope Francis urges religious congregations to “open their doors” to the public.
The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Cabrini Sisters), from the House of Formation and Discernment in West Park-Ulster County-New York, heeding the words of Pope Francis opened their doors to various parish communities last Sunday, February 8, 2015.
In attendance were parishioners from various surrounding towns including Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Highland, New Paltz, Esopus, and Kingston.
The focus of the Open House was on the following themes: the Life of Mother Cabrini as Patroness of Immigrants; charism and spirituality; the Cabrini Missionary vision; formation of various vocations; consecrated religious life; Cabrini Lay Missionaries; Cabrini Mission Corps and Cabrini Companions.
The ministries that were presented included: Cabrini Advocacy and Action (CAAC) which involves raising awareness regarding human trafficking issues; direct assistance for issues of immigration including legal consultation, obtaining citizenship, teaching English as a Second language, running a food pantry, and pastoral ministry on all levels. Visitors were all able to see on a world map the extension of the Cabrini Mission on the six continents.
The Missionary Sisters received their guests and took them on a tour of the expositions, explaining details of their life style and charism.
Our guests were able to witness the history of the Cabrini orphanage through pictures and a narrative. They saw a movie of the Cabrini heritage prepared by The National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Chicago.
One aspect of the Open House was a visit to the sister’s quarters, followed by refreshments in the dining room.
One of the MSC aspirants took the visiting children aside and entertained them with age-appropriate fun activities.
By the sounds of laughter and joy, we could tell that everyone had a very fruitful and enjoyable afternoon. As the guests were leaving, they expressed that religious life was not as much of a mystery to them now.
We, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, since Vatican II, have had our doors open to many lay collaborators, friends and family members, but, this is the first time that we made an extensive formal invitation to all that could come and share with us an informative and pleasurable afternoon.