New commission to serve consecrated life in archdiocese

| February 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Members of the newly-formed Interim Commission for Consecrated Life include, from left, Sister Charlotte Berres, Greg Darr, Sister Dianne Perry, Sister Linda Soler, Jane Lynch, Sister Gert Brixius, Sister Sue Torgersen, Brother Robert Smith, Sister Clarinda Coffel, Sister Emy Ychikawa and Sister Suzanne Homeyer. Sister Lynore Grimscheid, second from right, serves as staff to the commission, which serves as an advisory to Sister Carolyn Puccio, Delegate for Consecrated Life in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Not pictured: Brother Dominic Michael Hart, Nicoleta Manciu and Father William O’Brien. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit


Sister Carolyn Puccio announced 14 members of a new Interim Commission for Consecrated Life during the World Day of Consecrated Life Mass at the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet chapel in St. Paul Jan. 27.

“In the past, there were organizations like sisters’ councils and things like that, but for the last while, there hasn’t been anything just like that,” said Sister Carolyn, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph and delegate for consecrated life for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

She started the Interim Commission for Consecrated Life this year to better serve consecrated men and women in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The commission will support the variety of ways people are living out consecrated life in the archdiocese. It will also “serve as an advisory committee to the Delegate for Consecrated Life” according to the commission’s constitution and bylaws.

Plans for the commission include providing enrichment opportunities, improving communication between the archdiocese and consecrated persons and supporting vocations to consecrated life. The commission, which will meet quarterly, has 14 members from different religious orders or institutes of consecrated life. The commission includes religious orders or institutes of consecrated life, such as the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, the Jesuits and Visitation Sisters.

Sister Dianne Perry, of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who will serve on the commission, sees the opportunity as a way to celebrate and uphold consecrated life. “Consecrated life is a special call within the body of Christ within the Church” and the commission is one way to “keep the story alive [and] articulate gratitude for those who have answered God’s call in this particular way,” she said.

Sister Carolyn initiated discussion about creating a commission in 2017 with a group, or think tank, of consecrated persons. In their meetings, they concluded it would serve the consecrated people of the archdiocese to form a commission.

“This was very important to us that it be the whole scope, … the rich diversity of the different expressions of the consecrated life,” Sister Carolyn said. “And that we value one another, we support one another, we collaborate [and] we appreciate each other.”

Sister Dianne, also a member of the think tank, said bringing consecrated people together will help younger religious priests, brothers and sisters learn from the seasoned ones’ experiences.

“Not to tell them what to do as much as to say, ‘this is how we did it and this is what we learned, and we’ll be happy to share it with you,’” Sister Dianne said. “I also think how we can work together across our different groups is a way that we witness to the unity that Pope Francis calls us to.”

People living consecrated life include more than 40 religious orders represented in the archdiocese, consecrated virgins and members of societies of apostolic life. Sister Carolyn noted that the great diversity of consecrated people in the archdiocese offers an opportunity and a challenge.

She realized early on in her work as a delegate for consecrated life that “we are blessed with a great diversity of persons called to consecrated life in the archdiocese but no vehicle for communicating effectively with that diverse population.” She hopes the group will “facilitate collaboration and cooperation among those people” and assist in her work of serving as Archbishop Bernard Hebda’s delegate to consecrated men and women.

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