“The Power of Prayer” by Karen Theckston, Fiat Ventures

Flickr User Long Thein

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This past weekend, for the first time since January, I spent some time with my two best friends from college. We’re all doing our best to live out God’s call for us in this season of life. I’m a working mom of a very cute eight-month-old little girl, my one friend is newly married and working in youth ministry with her husband and the second is single and just quit her job the day before to start her own business!

As we’re catching each other up on our lives, the second friend mentions that one of her roommates is entering religious life in the fall. That’s amazing! What order will she enter? The Sisters of Life, working with young moms and their babies? The Salesian Order, Mary Help of Christians, and work with youth? Or will she travel the world as a missionary with the Sisters of Charity and care for the poorest of the poor?  Then my friend says that she’ll be entering the Carmelite Order, the cloistered order. I was surprised as no one I knew even discerned this vocation, but we said a quick prayer for her and continued the conversation.

I’ve always struggled with the idea that God would call someone to a life of silence and solitude when there so much to DO to help in the world. So when I got home, I hopped on Google, determined to better understand this vocation. I quickly came across an article about Shelly Pennefather, now Sister Rose Marie of the Queen of Angels, covered by ESPN.

Shelly was an All-American basketball player in the late 1980s. Her High School was undefeated all four years she played and she still holds the record of most points scored at Villanova University. After college, Shelly played professionally in Japan but soon realized that God was asking her to do something different with her life. In June of 1991, she entered the order of the Poor Clares, an order or cloistered sisters in Virginia. This June, Sister Rose Marie celebrated the 25-year anniversary of her solemn profession and the renewal of her vows. When reading the article by ESPN Senior Writer Elizabeth Merrill, two things stood out to me. First her description of the order “The Poor Clare nuns enter this radical way of life because they believe that their prayers for humanity will help the suffering, and that their sacrifice will lead to the salvation of the world” and second, the response of Shelly’s basketball coach to this call ” ‘I didn’t understand it at first,’ Perretta said. ‘But if you believe in the power of prayers, then they’re doing more for humanity than anybody’”. Wow.

The only way to understand the mission of these orders is to understand the power of prayer. These sisters will never meet the people they’re praying for but they know the impact they can make on the world through prayer.

In the Responsorial Psalm this weekend, we pray “Lord, come to my aid!”, and we trust that He does. We don’t have to be religious sisters to believe in the transformative power of prayer. As Catholics, we believe that through our prayer, God works miracles.

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