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From Cardinal Seán’s blog

“Over the (Feb. 5-7) weekend, we held Vocation Office Discernment Retreats for both St. John’s and Blessed John XXIII seminaries... The St. John’s retreat ran from Friday evening through Sunday at the Connors Retreat Center in Dover. There were 47 men in attendance there. In fact, we could not have the retreat at St. John’s because we don’t have enough rooms there any more! As I always say, it is a good problem to have. The current seminarians also joined us, so there was an opportunity for the young men there to hear their testimony as well.” Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org

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Last week, on the Sunday after the Feast of Candlemas (the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord) the Church observed World Day for Consecrated Life, a celebration which was instituted by Pope John Paul II.

I took occasion of that event to send this letter to the women religious in our archdiocese assuring them of our support and requesting that they participate fully in the Apostolic Visitation, which is currently underway:

Dear Sister,

As the Church celebrates the gift of the Consecrated Life, I wish to say a word of appreciation and congratulations to all religious. The document prepared by Sister Marian Batho and our Bicentennial committee chronicles the stunning accomplishments of our religious communities in the Archdiocese of Boston. The exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington: “Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America” likewise underscores the invaluable contributions of religious women in the history of our country. My personal debt to the Sisters and Priests who mentored me in my vocation is enormous. I know that I speak for generations of Catholics who have benefited from the selfless service of thousands of religious sisters.

In December I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with our Religious Superiors of Women concerning the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States. It was very helpful to hear the Sisters’ questions, and to share with them that Mother Mary Clare Millea has assured me that she and her staff stand ready to address any concerns.

It is my hope that all of our religious communities will participate fully in the Apostolic Visitation process, to further the spirit of communion in the Church. I also shared with the Superiors my conviction that the visitation is not a criticism of religious life, but rather an opportunity to reflect on our lives and strengthen our vocation. Having been part of seminary visitations in the United States and Latin America, I realize that there are challenges in the process, but the outcome was always helpful. The process provides us an opportunity to come together and reflect on the treasure of our religious vocation, the charism of our founder and our ministries in addition to the witness of consecrated life.

Once again, I want to thank all of our consecrated religious for making a gift of your life to Christ and His Church. Thank you for your tireless efforts to make the Kingdom more visible and more present in our world, and please know of my gratitude for your prayers and good example, of which I am a grateful beneficiary.

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