Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Greetings from Lukolela

Sister Mary Felice shares an update about her ministry in Lukolela in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I have been in Lukolela for nine months now. We don’t have Internet access there thus I have lost touch with many people. I am now at our Provincial House in Mbandaka and the Internet is working, so I am taking advantage of the situation! ...
In Lukolela we have a 128-bed hospital. We have 4.5 doctors and we recently hired another. Sister Marie Cecile is the medical director. She is 74 years old, from Italy, and has been in the Congo I believe more than 40 years! Our hospital has the usual departments: internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, an emergency room and laboratory. Each doctor has the responsibility of a department – mine is internal medicine, where we have 30 beds. Besides doing rounds in our department we also take turns covering the emergency room, we each have one day per week in the operating room, and we take turns being on call at night. Myself and Sister Marie Cecile also do ultrasounds and we may be sending another doctor to be trained. We treat much malaria, typhoid, malnutrition, HIV, tuberculosis, amebiasis, filariosis, hypertension and trauma.

One of our largest challenges since I have been here is a lack of physicians because we are rarely all present, thus those who are must be on call frequently at night and the days are busy. I continue to pray that it will improve. I also continue to hope that one day we will have Internet access!

We have nine Sisters in our community in Lukolela and one postulant. We also have a school.

... I am including some photos from our hospital. I left unexpectedly early, thus I did not have the occasion to take specific photos to send but I’m sending some nonspecific photos I took earlier of patients – a young woman with malnutrition and diabetes, a child with an eye injury, of family members collecting water falling from the roof, and some goats seeking shelter from the rain, outside internal medicine department.

We are a reference hospital for a large rural area. There are health centers located in some of the small villages that give basic care, but when something is beyond them they refer it to us, thus many of our patients come from far, by bicycle, taxi, motorcycle or by the river in a pirogue. (We are located on the Congo River.) Our operating room is quite busy with appendectomies, hernia operations, cesareans, gynecologic surgeries and bowel perforations from typhoid. We also do many blood transfusions, especially for children, because of the anemia caused by malaria (secondary to hemolysis).

Love, Sister Mary


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Holy Hangout About Having Fun is Coming Soon!

We get asked a lot: What do you do for fun? Yes, being a Daughter of Charity is serious business. But God also invites all of us to have some fun!

We'll chat about what we do in our free time during our next Holy Hangout on YouTube, set for Sunday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m. CDT. Share what you do for fun and where you see God in those fun moments, or ask us your questions about what we do as Daughters of Charity by joining the conversation. Tweet us or share an Instagram post using #HolyHangoutDC, post on our Facebook Timeline, or comment on this blog with your questions.

For more information, join our Facebook Event.

Got questions about discernment and vocations? Visit our website and connect with us--we'd be happy to answer!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Being Taught by Teaching

Sister Meg (second from left) with some of her students at
Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg, Md.
by Sister Meg Kymes, D.C.

"The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them."
- St. Vincent de Paul

This past school year, I had the opportunity to teach second grade religion. This was my first year teaching, and like most first-year teachers, I learned more than I think I taught my students.

Pope Francis met with students from Jesuit schools throughout Italy and Albania in June of last year. He said, "...The main element in school is learning to be magnanimous. ...This means having a big heart, having a greatness of soul. It means having grand ideals, the desire to achieve great things in response to what God asks of us..." I learned to not just expect the minimum from my students, but to expect great things from them because that is what God would expect from them.

One of my students had some issues with his reading ability. However, in discussions, he would come up with amazing insights into God's presence with us in all things and had a deep love for the Eucharist. God had given that child a very special gift of a deep love for our Lord and His laws and it was a stunning gift for me to witness. It inspired me to go deeper within my own faith life.

My first year of teaching also encouraged me to be more trusting in our Lord. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" My lead teacher and principal entrusted me with the awesome responsibility to pass on the "good gift" of our faith to my students, which is what Jesus would give to these children if he were still on Earth.

One of our retired Sisters who became a mentor to me told me to remember to trust that Jesus was with me every step of the way. I also had to remember the Holy Spirit had inspired my lead teacher and principal to make me these students' teacher. On especially difficult days, I tried to remember that, for a reason yet unknown to me, the Lord had chosen me to be these children's teacher and I needed to do the best I could while remembering that he was with me every step of the way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Acting on God's Invitation

Shannon Cawley
Shannon Cawley is a discerner with the Daughters of Charity. She shares what has been integral to her discernment journey. Please join us in praying for Shannon as she discerns God's call.

I would not be where I am today if it weren't for the special people God has placed in my life--from the three individuals who challenged me to consider a vocation in religious life, to the Sisters I've met along the way, my spiritual director, friends and family.

In reflecting on my discernment journey, my need for interaction with others has changed and deepened. One of the hardest obstacles in my discernment was the initiation. I knew God was inviting me to discern my vocation, but I didn't take any action for two years because I was afraid of where it might lead.

I decided to begin by taking a leap of faith and sharing my intent of discerning my vocation with a friend who shared my faith. That was the best decision I ever made because she immediately encouraged me to look into a particular community and sent me information about an online discernment retreat with the Daughters of Charity, which was another important part of my discernment. I would encourage anyone in the process of discernment to find at least one person to share their journey with who they trust and who walks closely with the Lord.

The online discernment retreat with the Daughters was perfect for me because it allowed me to take one step further in my discernment journey without having to let a whole group of retreatants know I was considering religious life. Speaking with Sister Sharon Richardt for those five days opened my eyes and heart to possibilities within religious life. Before the retreat, the idea of religious life was very intangible, but after speaking with Sister Sharon, I realized Sisters are real, down-to-earth people called by God to live their lives in a special way.

As I continued my discernment, it was very important for me to visit with different communities to learn about their charisms and apostolates, and to spend time talking with their Sisters. Events like Nun Runs and Come and See weekends helped me get an initial idea of how different communities live, but as I've continued my discernment journey, I've found spending more time with Sisters on special visits and talking with vocation directors to be most helpful. It's been invaluable to spend time with Sisters doing everyday things, like helping clean up at a local Catholic school, because it helped me better understand the heartbeat of their lives. This has been important for me because it will allow me to find my home as I continue to reflect on the desires God has placed on my heart and discover the person He has created me to be.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Welcome to Our New Vocations Site!

Discernment is filled with a lot of questions, a lot of blessings and a lot of discovering who God has called you to be. Our goal is to help you do that, encouraging you and praying with you the entire way.

We recently launched a brand new vocations site in hopes to provide resources and tools you can use as you discern. From videos and reading material to answering some of the most frequently asked questions about discernment and the Daughters of Charity, we really hope it helps. Here are a few things you can do while you're visiting our site at

Register for a retreat. Throughout the year, we host several retreats and events aimed to help you hear God’s call. From service weeks to online retreats to weekend events, our schedule spans the United States.Check out upcoming events and find out how to register here.
Join our mailing lists. Whether you want the scoop on discernment or are looking for some inspiration each week, you can sign up to be on one of our mailing lists for email updates and to receive new Daughters of Charity materials. Just fill out the form on this page to sign up.
Catch up with us on social media. Are you an avid Instagrammer? Like to tweet, or check out Facebook? We’re on a variety of social media platforms with the goal of connecting, sharing, laughing and encouraging. Find out where to follow Daughters of Charity here.
Hear discernment stories from actual Daughters of Charity. Each and every Daughter has her own unique story of discernment. Hear and watch a few of them on our video page or read about them on theMy Story page. Maybe yours will be added someday!
See the bigger picture. Daughters of Charity serve all over the world in a variety of capacities in the spirit of serving those who are poor. Our maps show where we serve on a global and local scale.
Get in touch with Daughters of Charity. Let us know how we can pray for you and help you as you discern. Reach out to one of our vocation directors and we’ll be sure to meet you where you are on your journey.
We hope you enjoy our site! Don't be afraid to reach out to us with your questions.