Vocation - Sister Speak

Terminology used in documents of religious congregations may have a different meaning in other arenas. Definitions of terms we use include the following:

Adoration—worship and praise offered to God alone

Apostolate—another word for ministry, carrying on the work of the apostles, spreading the Good News of God’s love

Apostolic—a description of work done in the apostolate

Asceticism—strict self-discipline (even denial) in order to be a more faithful disciple of Christi

Canonical—dealing with Church law

Celibate Chastity—in order to focus all our energy on our mission to offer love universally, we vow to abstain from the intimate expression of love for one person/family

Charism—Charism is a particular gift of the Holy Spirit to a group of Consecrated Religious for the good of the Church. This gift is the focus of the spiritual orientation and the special characteristics of the mission of the group. Our charism is to be an extension of Jesus, the Incarnate Word and make present the human face of God's love.

Consecrated Life—way of life formed by the three vows of poverty, celibate chastity and obedience

Constitution—the central document that expresses the essentials of a religious congregation

Councilors—four Sisters elected for a specified term to assist the Superior General in serving the congregation through advice and decision-making.

Evening Prayer—Liturgy of the Hours celebrated in the evening to close the efforts of the day and bless the evening hours

Final Vows—sometimes known as perpetual vows; vows taken for life, making the Sister a permanent member of the congregation

Incarnation—The Incarnation is the central Christian belief of the second Person of the Trinity's becoming human.  "And the Word was made flesh." (Jn 1.14)

Leadership—those called to assist the community in living out our charism and to coordinate our ministry

Two levels of government call for two levels of leadership: The General Administration serves the entire community or congregation. The Sister-in-Charge serves the local community.

Leadership Team—Superior General and four General Councilors serve (lead) the congregation.

Liturgy of the Hours-official, public prayer of the Church, based on Scripture, offered at various times of the day

Ministry—specific work or effort of the congregation or an individual to contribute to the fulfillment of our mission

Mission—purpose for existence

Morning Prayer—Liturgy of the Hours celebrated in the morning to dedicate the day to God

Obedience—in order to focus on God’s will in accomplishing our mission, we vow to refrain from making significant decisions individually.

Poverty—in order to focus on God’s providence in accomplishing our mission, we vow to detach ourselves from personal control of material goods.

Prayer—response to the awareness to the presence and action of God in our lives

Renewal—a call from Vatican Council II to the religious congregations, and their response to return to the original focus of their charism and mission

Retreat—time set aside for prayer and reflection; time dedicated to deepening one’s relationship with God

Sister—title given to a woman canonically recognized as a member of a religious congregation

Spiritual Director—one who journeys with and provides guidance on the spiritual journey of one’s life in terms of discernment and spiritual growth as a disciple of Christ.

Spirituality—manner in which we (as whole persons) live in and with the power of Spirit

Superior General—Leader serving the congregation, elected for a specified term

Temporary Vows—vows taken for a specific amount of time, usually during one of the steps in initial formation

Vocation—the call from God to live the Baptismal commitment to love within a particular life pattern and set of relationships (married, single, consecrated, ordained)

Vow—promise to God

Witness—because of personal knowledge, we testify to the truth of God’s love through our life – both actions and words.