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Am I called?

If you chose to read this section, chances are that you might be looking for something deeper than what you have experienced in life thus far. Perhaps you have a feeling of incompleteness or a desire for a deeper relationship with God. Or do you look around you at what is happening in the world and wish you could help to make a difference? Maybe this is the time for you to think about exploring religious life. How might this way of life speak to your questioning heart?

Today for many even thinking about religious life can evoke deep feelings of confusion, feelings of excitement and fear, of uncertainty and hopefulness. These feelings are natural, not unlike those you might experience in making any major life choice and commitment. What is clear is a restlessness of spirit and a longing for something more to make your life complete, a desire to belong, to make a difference in the world. Consecrated religious life is one path towards fulfillment.

Religious communities have much in common. Yet, each has a distinctive "something," a unique charism that animates and motivates its members. Charisms are gifts of the Spirit, deep insights into a particular aspect of the gospel given for the transformation of the Church and, ultimately, of the world. We encourage you to visit with us and with others to learn about religious life. During this process you might well find a community that responds to your desires. Visits, conversations, prayer and reflection play a critical role in the process of discovering a sense of "at home-ness" with a community.

As for the Daughters of Wisdom, our charism involves following the path of Wisdom who "...makes all things new. In every generation she passes into holy souls to make them friends of God and prophets." (Wis. 7.27) Our path is steeped in the quest for God and in a desire to be witnesses and bearers of hope for suffering humanity. With creative fidelity to our founders, Marie Louise Trichet and Louis de Montfort, we desire to pass on their charism through a way of life rooted in the gospel as they and succeeding generations of Sisters lived it over the past three hundred years. Ours is a spiritual journey marked by a deep desire to come to know Jesus, the Wisdom of God who became one with our humanity and, as he did, to offer compassionate care for suffering humanity.

Our mission in the Church and in the world is to give expression to the ardent love of God for our brothers and sisters. We strive to spread this mission through many different kinds of ministries, most often for people who are in great need, especially women and children. Dwelling among the people we serve, Daughters of Wisdom are present on all five continents in ministries that include health care, education, retreat centers, pastoral care, parish work, shelters, clinics, hospitals or wherever needed.

If you would like to explore further, or if you think your calling might be to live the way of Wisdom, we encourage you to contact us. A Sister will welcome you and listen to your questions. She will point out resources and with others, introduce you to our charism and spirituality, our communities and ministries. These steps will help you to discover whether or not you feel at home with our life and mission. You can count on her support to assist you in the process of determining whether or not the Daughters of Wisdom is the right community for you.

So are you ready to make a call? We’re ready to answer! For more information, call us at (631) 277-2660 x 16 or email us: vocation@daughtersofwisdom.org

 

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Life as a Sister

Living in Community

Living in community is a blessing and a challenge. It is a blessing because, as sisters, we share what matters to us: how we see life, what we are reading, what is happening in our ministries or our families, as well as the everyday realities of cooking, cleaning and caring for one another. It is a challenge as we learn how to deal with differences, how to listen well and how to deal with diversity and conflict. What unites us is our common desire to “…build life-giving communities in order that we may seek Wisdom together and reveal her wherever we are present.” (Way of Wisdom #38).

Praying Together

Prayer is at the heart of our call to religious life. Each day we meet to share God’s Word: to shine the light of that Word on all we do; to pray for our suffering sisters and brothers throughout the world; to deepen our relationship with God. Seeking and contemplating Divine Wisdom permeates and transforms our lives, impelling us to action for justice in a world that hungers for meaning and compassion. “In the image of the first Christian community, we drink from the source of the Word of God and share it." (Way of Wisdom #41).

Sharing of Life and Ministry

Being a part of a loving community grounds us and supports us in the mission of Jesus. Each of us is prepared for a ministry to those most in need, using her God-given talents and gifts. Passionate about mission, we use our creativity and resources, our knowledge and energy to address justice issues regarding poverty, human trafficking, water and human rights, ecological and environmental realities and the systems that sustain injustice. We strive to bring the Gospel message to bear on the political and social injustices in our ministries, our church and world. Passion about the mission, the seeking of Wisdom and love for one another keeps us going!

"Under the guidance of the Spirit, our personal relationship with Christ leads us to mission." (Way of Wisdom #50). "We place everything in common: our faith, our talents, our cultural values, our ministerial experience, our time and our belongings." (Way of Wisdom #41).

Being a Presence Among the People

Our ministries call us not only to serve God’s people, but to be God’s presence in their midst, as neighbors and colleagues. Our doors are open to all. That may involve giving a single mom a night off while we babysit her children; it may involve being a listening heart when a colleague or neighbor needs someone to talk to; it may mean having coffee in our house after morning Mass; it may involve inviting friends and neighbors to pray with us; it has involved taking in people when disasters (like hurricanes, house fires, etc.) have occurred; it often involves welcoming family members and celebrating life’s suffering and joys with them.

We strive to be a safe space where open discussion of Church and world issues, with our differing voices and beliefs, can take place. Present among the people, we are called to be “open, welcoming and characterized by a simple lifestyle and a hospitality that is free of discrimination.” (Way of Wisdom #43).

 
 

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Called By Wisdom

“Let me tell you of Wisdom, who she is and from whence she comes. I will not hide God’s mysteries, but will seek her who is mystery and bring to light what was in shadow and share with you knowledge…I do not seek Wisdom for myself… I desire only to share Her, for the welfare of the world depends upon a growing community of the wise.” (Revisioning of Love of the Eternal Wisdom, Rabbi Shapiro, p. 4)

In the following reflections by Sisters who were called by Wisdom, we see in concrete stories and experiences how they encountered the Wisdom of God in life’s everyday happenings, in people, and in creation. It was an encounter that, in the words of Augustine, “…made our hearts restless, O God, until they rest in you.” What flowed from that divine encounter led to a passion for the welfare of the world and its suffering peoples that is so evident in these stories of being called by Wisdom.

SR. AGNES BRACKEN, DW

SR. AGNES BRACKEN, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

I was inspired to be a religious in my early years by way of the Faith and values of respect and caring for others that were transmitted to me by my extended family. As a teenager I was influenced by the DWs who were my teachers. They were always joyful and caring for each other and for all the students in the high school.

+ What in your life as a consecrated religious has brought you a sense of Joy?

Over the years I have had the privilege to minister with other health care workers in delivering services most often to the elderly, often alone and sick, in Brooklyn. The joy in their faces, and knowing that someone cared about them was joy for me. Now I am with student nurses, some who struggle with finances, violence and family responsibilities and yet want to further their future. Some mentoring and encouragement is often all these young and not so young men and women need to continue on their journey. There are also those prospective students who need advocacy with the college to be accepted into the program and have shown they can achieve becoming a Registered Nurse.

+ What is your hope for the future of ministry?

My experience with the Millennium Generation, tells me that they are persons who hear God's call to relationship with a higher being - with themselves, each other and the environment and they are asking for a listener to help them discern what God is asking of them. I believe I will never retire from ministry but will always be responsive to where the spirit will lead me as a women committed to Wisdom and the world.


SR. VERONICA BYRNE, DW

SR. VERONICA BYRNE, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

I went to Our Lady of Wisdom Academy in Ozone Park, New York, where I was inspired by the joy, happiness and concerns of the Sisters for us students, I had been a public school student so the concern of the Sisters really touched me. Working as a counselor at St. Vincent de Paul Camp for poor children in Commack Long Island, I was especially touched by the concern of the Sisters for the children at the camp as well as their support of the students, teachers and parents as well. Their joy and service never ceased to inspire me.

+ What in your life as a consecrated religious has brought you a sense of Joy?

My elementary public school principal inspired me. When I told her I was becoming a religious her response was that I would help others to praise God in song. That is what brought me great joy. I was the choir director for the children of At St. Mary Gate of Heaven School in Ozone Park, and we sang at Mass on Sundays. I am still in contact with some of the choir members. At St. Agatha High School in Maine, I was the music director of the boys and girls in the glee club and we put on performances to entertain the parents and townspeople. When I was at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, NY, we had a glee club which performed in many musicals for the public. I also had a folk group which sang at our Masses in the chapel. All these brought me great joy as I was helping others to use their talents to praise God.

+ Is there a particular concern in our world today that moves your heart?

Of the many pressing concerns in our world today, that of young people who need help to direct their lives in a positive direction and the plight of refugees touch my heart in particular.

+ How do you respond to the needs you see?

Because our lives of prayer and service have brought us joy, our assisted living community at Sound Beach, NY, pray that the youth of today will consider a vocation to religious life.


SR. JOAN CANFIELD, DW

SR. JOAN CANFIELD, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

As I sat at a desk, in the fall of 1949, taking the entrance test for Our Lady of Wisdom Academy, I glanced out the window. What did I see? It was a little old nun, in slippers and the habit of a Daughter of Wisdom shaking out a dust mop and looking at the flowers at the grotto. It was this scene that I think planted in me the seed of my vocation and it blossomed through the next four years as I learned more about the Daughters of Wisdom – their simplicity, approachability and love of what they were doing.

+ What in your life, as a consecrated religious, has brought you a sense of joy?

This year is my 60th Jubilee and I have asked myself this question. Over the years there have been many times that I experienced a sense of joy. The outstanding one was going to the beatification of Marie Louise Trichet. Being among so many Daughters of Wisdom from all over the world helped me to be aware of the blessing of belonging to an international congregation. Another blessing is the knowledge that the charism of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort is experienced all over the world. How grateful I am to Wisdom-Sophia for this and for meeting and sharing with so many Daughters of Wisdom from different countries. Deo Gratias!

+ What do you consider a pressing need in our world today?

There are so many needs that it is hard to choose one. This stage of my life helps me to realize that I am limited in what I can do. The best that I can do is pray and use email to respond to some needs. I am the daughter of an Irish immigrant, as many of us are so the area that I feel called to respond to is immigration. We need to be open to their needs and respond as we best we can and by prayer.


SR. ROSEMARY CONNELLY, DW

SR. ROSEMARY CONNELLY, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

My family was an average American family not overly religious but insistent on our religious formation, e.g. sacraments, Mass, Catholic school, and prayers. Their actions of kindness toward others are things I remember. I lived in Brooklyn in a very active parish and we participated in many parish activities. Our parish priests were excellent and interested in our activities. We were helpful in many ways in the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel. High School brought me to Our Lady of Wisdom Academy where I met the Daughters of Wisdom. At first I thought them strange, especially their habits. Once you were in contact with them on a day to day basis, however, the habit no longer mattered and the real person came through. I especially appreciated the before school visits to chapel. The whole experience was so new that I needed some help – divine or otherwise. I developed a special attachment to Our Lady which I still have to this day. The atmosphere at the school was so welcoming and inclusive that I always felt at home. I attribute this to the Sisters who taught me. Deciding to become a religious was not an easy decision. And then – where to go? I decided that, I would ask God for a sign as to where to go. So I prayed! Somehow the Daughters of Wisdom hit the top of my list and so here I am.

+ Is there anything in particular about religious life that stands out for you?

During these years of retirement from teaching, I have had time to think and pray about my past. I have a great sense of gratitude for the path God has chosen for me. I cannot say that I thought of religious life from an early age, but I can say that God placed me in many places which nourished a religious vocation. Sometimes I stop and think, “How come I’m here?” Somehow or other, the doors to Religious Life opened for me and I find myself eternally grateful.

+ What in ministry has brought you the most joy?

One of the most satisfying ministries I was engaged in was preparing children for their First Holy Communion. I consider it a privilege to have been able to help form young minds to know and love Jesus.Now in retirement, I feel privileged to spend time in praying for the needs of our society and the world and to serve as a Hospice Volunteer.


SR. EDNA ENGLISH, DW

SR. EDNA ENGLISH, DW

+ What inspired you to become a daughter of Wisdom?

I was born and raised in the rural deep south. My religious upbringing was as a Methodist. In this setting I rarely met any Catholics and I never met a priest or woman religious. After a series of what seemed to be random events, which I now see as the providential hand of God, I applied to several schools of nursing for admission. The response from Maryview Hospital in Portsmouth, VA was hand written and addressed me personally. Among other reasons, this influenced my decision to enroll there. The first people to impress me were the students. Many of them were Catholic and went to daily 6:00 am Mass in the convent chapel before going on duty at 7:00 am. They seemed to live the values that they had learned in Catholic school. This really impressed me and at the end of my second year, I decided to became a Catholic. As I was taught by and worked with the Daughters of Wisdom, I became more and more impressed and inspired by them. Whatever the job was, they did it. I never heard one of them complain. They were open and friendly and were always ready to share. I was particularly impressed by Sr. Mary Pfeifer, who was Head Nurse of the segregated “black” unit. This unit housed patients with any and all ailments as well as maternity patients and newborns. I was accustomed to the local cultural norms of dealing with black people. They were normally assigned to the least attractive accommodations and never addressed by any title of respect such as “Mr.”, “Mrs.” or “Miss”. I quickly learned from Sr. Mary that all persons, no matter their color or ethnicity, were to be treated with dignity and respect. She would tolerate nothing less. Her example was one of the things that led me to want to be a Daughter of Wisdom. I have tried to live by this principle all my religious life.

+ What in your life as a consecrated religious has brought you a sense of joy?

As I have lived consecrated religious life, I really haven’t thought much about a sense of joy. First I would say it has been prayer both communal and private that has brought a sense of peace and joy. Then I would say it has been the people, both the sisters and those with whom I worked. I feel that they were and are a very real source of joy. They are a living presence of God for me. I am reminded of Sr. Vitalin at St. Charles Hospital in Brooklyn. She would watch out and when things got bad, would call me into her office, give me a talking to plus a bar of chocolate. Somehow I always felt better. It is only as I look back over the years that I realize the joy that has been and still is in my life.

+ What do you consider pressing concerns in our world today?

There are so many concerns. War! Nuclear arms! Terrorists! Environmental pollution! Illegal drugs! Human trafficking! Hunger! Poverty! The list seems endless and overwhelming!!


SR. MAUREEN HURLEY, DW

SR. MAUREEN HURLEY, DW

+ What inspired me to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

I became a Daughter of Wisdom in my early thirties after 10 year as a music teacher in the public schools and a percussionist in various bands and orchestras. I sought to fill my life with love and excitement. But, after a trip to Europe, I found myself praying before a crucifix and became aware that Jesus would have accepted the cross for me alone. I realized then, that the love I was intensely searching for could only be found in Jesus and I was inspired to offer my life in return by joining a Religious Congregation. I chose the Daughters of Wisdom after reading some of the works of St. Louis de Montfort, co-founder of the Daughters of Wisdom, and discovering his great love of the cross, which led him to say “No cross, what a cross.”

+ What in my life as a consecrated religious has brought me a sense of joy?

I have never regretted becoming a Daughter of Wisdom. My life in the congregation has been a time of maturing into the person God has called me to be – a time of developing a relationship with Jesus and experiencing “God is Love” – a time to be privileged to share my gifts and talents in serving and caring for God’s people, my brothers and sisters. It has been a time of sharing life in community with others who have the same goal: to live a gospel life following Jesus. These have been, still are, and will continue to be the joys I have received in my life as a consecrated Religious - a Sister.

+ What is a pressing concern in the world today?

The News in the paper and on the TV constantly bring to my attention that in the world today there is a total disregard for human life through abortion, random violence and systematic killing of human beings. The reasons for this tragic lack of respect for other human beings created by God, are many but I believe with Pope Francis, that one reason is the lack of equal sharing of the earth’s goods among all people. We, in my local religious community, constantly bring these issues to prayer, sign petitions on the internet and call our representatives. We share our gifts both material and spiritual with others. To counteract the anger, hatred, lack of honesty and selfishness that permeate the atmosphere in which we live, and energized by sharing gospel faith in our community and joining with others to receive Eucharist and create communion every day, I try to bring the loving presence of Jesus to every person I meet in my daily rounds. If we can surfeit the atmosphere with vibrations of love, perhaps we can make a difference.


SR. EVELYN LAMOUREUX, DW

SR. EVELYN LAMOUREUX, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

When I reflect back to my childhood, I realize that the prime motivation for my entering religious life was the faith of my parents and the example of the many religious that are in my extended family

+ What in your life as a consecrated religious has brought you a sense of Joy?

As a Daughter of Wisdom, I have been pursued by Lady Wisdom, a personification of God in the Hebrew scriptures. She has drawn me to share the love that I experience in many areas of my life. I am saddened by the many people who have been victimized through the greed of others, especially women, children and men who suffer from human trafficking.

+ Name a particular concern in our world today that moves your heart? How are you or your community responding?

I think we need a genuine concern for the planet and for the poor in today’s world. It seems to me that the divide between the rich and poor is widening and we need to wake up the world to minimize that gap. It has been a joy to me to serve the poor in my ministry. I have been privileged to minister to them through the parish outreach. Many parishioners have entrusted me with the goods of the earth to distribute to those most in need.


SR. CHRISTINA GRACE MALONZO, DW

SR. CHRISTINA GRACE MALONZO, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

I was drawn to the Daughters of Wisdom at the age of fifteen when I was working on the surgical ward under Sister Florence, DW. I could feel the joy in the lives of the Sisters who served the sick. I joined them in 1953 and am happy to be serving with them for sixty years.

+ Name a particular concern in our world today that moves your heart?

The present state of our earth needs so many people to be aware and act on the critical issues that face us. Pope Francis has issued an excellent encyclical on the Care of our Common Home. I am sure our founder St. Louis Marie de Montfort would totally agree with the urgency of the needs he names. I believe he would thrust himself into action for the Love of his God and the good of all creation, as should we. I was very touched by the true story of a whale caught in lines and wires near the San Francisco bridge. Three capable men came to try and rescue her. As one was cutting the lines out of her mouth, he said her eye never left him. After a time, she was freed and swam in circles. Then she returned to each one and gently nudged them before she set out into the deep!! One gentleman said he would never be the same! Does it not touch your heart to see the intelligence of this grateful creature? Blessed be God in all His creation!


SR. EMMA ROHN, DW

SR. EMMA ROHN, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

During my teenage years, attending Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School in Brooklyn, NY, I felt called to attend daily Mass before starting my day of travel and classes. Attending Mass and receiving Communion gave me a feeling of peace and strength that God was with me, helping and protecting me. As part of a class assignment I read a book entitled, The Man Who Got Even with God. It deeply influenced me and I began to think of the contemplative life. But I soon had doubts. I couldn't think of leaving my mother, perhaps, forever. (She had been a window since I was six.) Also, I didn't think my health would be good enough to withstand the austere style of life practiced by contemplative orders. Five religious orders taught at Bishop McDonnell; one of them was the Daughters of Wisdom. I felt drawn to them by their simplicity, kindness and the fact that their rule included a contemplative stance and an almost semi-cloistered "detachment from the world." (This has changed to a contemplative service in the world.) I consecrated myself to Mary according to the spirituality of St. Louis Marie de Montfort on December 8th, 1944 and entered the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom July, 1945

+ What in your life as a consecrated religious has brought you Joy?

The opportunity to be of service to others is what has brought me the most joy. In high school, as a member of the Legion of Mary, I visited a home for the aged run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. Although I did mundane tasks, such as giving out Communion bonnets and shawls and emptying the garbage, I always felt a sense of joy, that I was doing something worthwhile. In religious life I have had the occasion of reaching out to family and friends at their time of pain and suffering. For ten years I was a facilitator for Rachel's Helpers, a program for women suffering from post-abortion traumatic syndrome. Although our society denies the existence of such a condition, many women suffer intense pain from the effects of having aborted their child. It is most rewarding to see that, at the end of the program, most of the participants are able to forgive themselves as well as others, and are ready to start a new life in Christ.

+ Is there a particular concern in our world today that moves your heart?

I am particularly concerned about the almost total lack of respect for human life in our society, from violence against the unborn to the taking advantage of the elderly.

+ How do you respond to the needs you see?

As a community we pray and also take action by contacting our legislators, making them aware of the issues that concern us.


SR. PATRICIA SCHMIDT, DW

SR. PATRICIA SCHMIDT, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom

I first encountered the Daughters of Wisdom in high school. My mother said the Sisters were different. I think she meant their grey andwhite habits. I found that they were different but in another sense. The sisters were simple, kind and unpretentious. They gave us a wonderful education as well as a safe place to grow in our formative teen years. I worked with them two summers at a camp for needy children and saw them at work and prayer and decided that was the life I wanted.

+ What has brought you joy as a consecrated religious?

As a Daughter of Wisdom, I began my ministry as a high school teacher. It was hard work but I enjoyed the students. They shared their concerns, and eventually I felt it would be more helpful to them if I had a counseling degree. The needs of the times, however, led me to a new ministry with clergy and religious. I experience much joy and wonder in using my gifts to enhance the life of others by teaching and by being a loving presence to them and I felt enriched as well by the relationships.

+ Do you have any particular concern for our world today?

It seems to me that the world is in conflict at multiple levels - person with person, group with group and nation with nation. At a personal level I pray every day for peace in our world. It seems to me a continuation of my ministry to help people regain peace in their lives. Our community also gathers with other women and men in what we call Wisdom Circles where we reflect on and pray for the needs of our world.


SR. MARY STUART, DW

SR. MARY STUART, DW

+ My Journey with Wisdom

The search, knowledge and experience of Beloved Wisdom has been the most primary, abiding, and challenging force in the journey of my life and most clearly what has brought me the most joy in mission and ministry as a Daughter of Wisdom. Religious Life has supported my desire to live a life full of meaning, purpose and support and opened me to the feminine face of God.

I have known Wisdom by many names. I came first to know a Grandmother God when, after a terrifying dream, my Grandmother put her warm and wonderful arms around me, put Rosary Beads around my neck, and assured me that God would always be with me and take care of me. From then on conversations with this loving and protecting God filled my childhood. God was also a caring Father as my Dad and I often went to morning Mass together, followed by breakfast together.

My choice for Religious Life seemed clear to me. God had given me life and everything that was most precious and I felt called to respond with a total commitment of my life in response. (Mt 13:44-46) Like Mary, who said her "Yes" and set out to be with Elizabeth, I wanted to birth Christ in my life and to share the joy of his presence with others. The Daughters of Wisdom taught me in High School and nurtured this desire by their teaching and by the way they related to us as students.

I loved teaching children in my 20's, and they taught me that what they were experiencing was more important that what I taught them. As a result, I moved into ministries that allowed me the gift of companioning others in their life-search for healing, caring relationships, and ultimate meaning. As a school psychologist, pastoral counselor, spiritual director, retreat director, and hospital chaplain my experiences challenged me to become more aware of the light and shadow in the world and in my own life. I questioned if God could be with me in my "dark places." I prayed Ps 139: "Lord you probe me and you know me . . . As I risked sharing the vulnerable places within me, with others and in prayer, I experienced God "ever ancient ever new" reminding me time and again, "Mary, you are "fearfully, wonderfully made.” . . . "You are my beloved "Daughter" in whom I am well pleased." (Lk 3: 21-22) This was the "good news" I was searching for and wanted to bring to others.

As I live the sageing years of my life, I know that the "pearls of great price" that have guided my life's journey are the experiences of God as the Source of all life and love beyond my understanding and that others, creation, and the cosmos are reflections of God and therefore to be held as sacred.

The gift of family, friends, and community are important relational influences in my life, as are those with whom I’ve ministered. They have "shaped me," embodied Wisdom's tenderness, and added marvelous harmony to the song my heart now echoes: "I will sing of the Lord, he has been good to me." The Good News is always good and always new and so I "journey still." "For all that has been, THANKS! For all that will be YES!"


SR. PAT TORRE, DW

SR. PAT TORRE, DW

+ What inspired you to become a Daughter of Wisdom?

I was older - 30 years of age - when I entered the Daughters of Wisdom. I did not go to a DW school, nor did I know the sisters in a formal sense. I knew them as welcoming and open- hearted community, who invited me in, offered hospitality and a listening heart. They were 'real' people who were in touch with life and had a great sense of humor. They lived their founders' wisdom, "to be in the midst of all God's people the good news of Christ". There was one sister in particular who had such a deep peace that it flowed through her. Whatever it was that she had, I desired it. And so I followed this call to become a Daughter of Wisdom.

+ What in your life as a consecrated religious has brought you a sense of Joy?

Discovering a 'peace that surpasses all understanding' is what has brought me great joy. Today as I accompany people on their journey, meeting them where they are and learning to listen with an open heart, I know that this is the inspiration of Wisdom and the women who follow Her. I share Her peace, Her joy, with all I meet.

+ Name a particular concern in our world today that moves your heart?

A particular concern that I have for our time is the number of people that are not at peace, that suffer from anxiety, or from what I call 'a hole in the soul'. It is almost as if they are lost.

+ How do you and your community respond to the needs you see?

We have begun two programs in our parish, Stephen Ministry and Friendly Visitors, to be with people in their need, in their grief, in their loneliness, and in their illness. To know that more than 70 people in our parish now have someone to speak with and to see the way that our Stephen Ministers and Friendly Visitors are listening with open hearts and deepening in their own faith moves my heart to overflowing!

 
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Vowed Membership

Called by God to a community life of prayer and mutual support, we are a congregation of Catholic Sisters who seek to promote justice and live in compassionate relationship with all God's people. Committed by vows, we witness to the Gospel by living the values of universal love, poverty in spirit and truth, and active listening to the voice of God manifest in the Scriptures, in creation and in others. Sent on mission throughout the world in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, we strive to share the message of Christ with people, especially women and children, experiencing injustice and poverty.

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Sr. Catherine Sheehan, DW, Provincial

+ Read Bio

Sister Cathy Sheehan most recently worked with AmeriCares – a non-profit disaster relief humanitarian aid organization based in Stamford, CT. Sr. Cathy was the Director of the AmeriCares Free Clinic of Bridgeport serving those without health insurance who do not have the financial resources for medical care.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY; a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Columbia University, New York, NY and a Master’s degree in Public Health Administration from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Sr. Cathy previously worked in Bristol, CT as the Director of Community Health for the Bristol-Burlington Health District and in Bridgeport, CT at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. Sr. Cathy has done public health work in Belize, Central America and Armenia.

Sr. Cathy enjoys outdoor activities, theatre, reading and spending time with friends and family.

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Sr. Evelyn Eckhardt, DW, Canonical Treasurer

+ Read Bio

Sister Evelyn is a spiritual director and leads retreats and workshops on spirituality. She is the past coordinator and continues to serve on the team of U.S. Province’s ministry, Fire in Our Hearts, which offers web-based Wisdom Spirituality through weekly reflections on its website, fireinourhearts.org.

Sr. Evelyn has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Seat of Wisdom College, Litchfield, CT; a Master’s degree in English from Boston College, Boston, MA; a Certificate in Theological Studies from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkley, CA, and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Shalem Institute, Washington, DC.

Her past ministries include Coordinator of the International Renewal Program in Rome for the Daughters of Wisdom from the developing countries, Pastoral Ministry on the diocesan and parish levels and education on the secondary level. Sr. Evelyn has also served in formation and leadership within the U.S. Province as well as in various capacities for brief periods of time with the Daughters of Wisdom in Malawi, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. Sr.

Evelyn enjoys reading, dancing and soaking in the beauty of creation.

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Sr. Diane Capozzi, DW, Councilor

+ Read Bio

Sister Diane is a Pastoral Counselor as well as a Spiritual Director. As an educator, she has also taught in both Norfolk, Va. and Malawi, Africa. Her past ministries include serving as Dean of Students at the Washington Theological Union, board member for Prison Ministry in Washington DC, Coordinator of the International Renewal Program in Rome for the Daughters of Wisdom from the developing countries and Councilor on the Congregational Leadership Team in Rome, affording vast international and intercultural experience throughout the world. Sr. Diane has a Bachelor's degree in Education from Seat of Wisdom College, Litchfield, CT, a Master's Degree in Theological Studies from the Washington Theological Union and a Master's degree in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola in Baltimore, MD. Sr. Diane is an avid Sudoku fan and loves to contemplate the beauty and spend time in nature, especially at the Arboretum in Islip, NY.

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Sr. Patricia Torre, DW, Councilor

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Sister Pat presently serves as a Pastoral Associate at Sacred Heart Church in Southbury, CT. Her responsibilities focus on Pastoral Care as she trains, sends and supervises the compassionate ministries of Stephen Ministry, Friendly visitors, and Eucharistic Ministry to the homebound and skilled care facilities. She accompanies those interested in becoming Catholic and returning to Catholicism and works with parents as they prepare to baptize their children. Sister Pat writes and offers a Call To Worship as a warm welcome for all who attend the weekend Liturgies.

Sr. Pat has an MS in Theology and a BS in Marketing, both from St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY, and a certificate in Spiritual Direction from Chrysalis Institute, Rockville Center, NY.

Her past ministries include faith formation in various parishes in Pueblo, Colorado, East Northport, Brentwood and Melville on Long Island, New York, and in Oxford, CT. She also offers Spiritual Direction and Retreats, and has offered brief periods of Community Service for the Daughters of Wisdom in Malawi and with the Montfort Fathers in the Philippines.

Sr. Pat enjoys the arts - music, dance and drama - and the many colors and faces of Creation.

 
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Become an Associate of Wisdom

Called to seek Wisdom, we are women and men who follow in the footsteps of St. Louis Marie de Montfort and Blessed Marie Louise Trichet, co-founders of the  Daughters of Wisdom. Coming from different walks of life, we maintain our own lifestyles, independence, and personal commitments. Our ministries range from   full-time jobs to volunteerism, as well as support for the Daughters of Wisdom in prayer and spirit. A community within the community of the Wisdom family, we share in the spirituality, mission, and history of the congregation.

Is Wisdom Inviting you to Join Us?

WHAT DO ASSOCIATES DO?

Associates maintain their own lifestyle, independence, and personal commitments. Their work can range from full-time jobs to volunteerism, or simply supporting the Daughters of Wisdom in prayer and spirit.                          

HOW DO I BECOME AN ASSOCIATE

Please contact a Co-Director of the Associate community listed HERE. Following the initial contact, we offer an orientation period, during which a Daughter of Wisdom or an Associate of Wisdom companions and shares the spirituality, mission, and history of the Congregation.

Wisdom’s Voice

Read more about the activities of the Associates in Wisdom's Voice, a publication by and about the Associates of Wisdom.

Meet our Associates

 
SUZANNE (SUE) O'BRIEN, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM, CO-DIRECTOR Associate since 5/23/10

SUZANNE (SUE) O'BRIEN, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM, CO-DIRECTOR Associate since 5/23/10

+ How I live out the mission of Wisdom

“For whoever finds me [Wisdom] finds life” Proverbs 8:35

Becoming an Associate of Wisdom and living the AW Mission, "Together We Love, Live, and Proclaim Wisdom" is one of the goals that underlie my desire to continue to learn and grow in the knowledge of Wisdom. Another of my goals is to spread the Wisdom Charism to others especially in these challenging times. I serve on the Fire in Our Hearts (FIOH) Core Team in New York and am a member of the Connecticut FIOH planning team. I’m also involved in the planning and preparation of Wisdom Circle material, which is a way to promote and welcome others to Wisdom Spirituality in a variety of settings. I continue to grow and deepen my spirituality through spiritual reading, attending retreats and day conferences. These practices nurture my soul and enable me to become more aware of and focused on seeing Wisdom in the ordinary of daily life. My spiritual journey has taught me how to “hold the tension” of paradox and to be more open to different points of view which enable me to see new possibilities.

I recently learned that my ancestors on my mother's side lived in Poitiers, France at the same time St. Louis de Montfort was preaching and serving as a hospital chaplain. It was also during the time Blessed Marie Louise Trichet was ministering education, healthcare, social and pastoral outreach to those neglected during that time. Somehow, I feel a connection or kindred spirit that Wisdom has found her way and has brought me to a new level of spirituality.

+ Autobiography

I have lived most of my life in Windsor Locks, Connecticut (near Bradley International Airport). I’ve received an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Business Management/Marketing. I’ve worked as a Customer Service Rep. in manufacturing and paper industries. In May 2017, I completed a 4-year Biblical Studies Program at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, CT. In addition to seeking Wisdom, my passion is to use my gift of singing for the benefits of others in liturgical and other settings. I’ve served (and continue to do so) as a Cantor for 20 years for my parish, Mary, Gate of Heaven, at weekend Masses, weddings and funerals. I provide Spiritual Direction, facilitate Small prayer groups and have taught Confirmation classes. I’m also a member of the Evangelization/Outreach Committee at the parish. I enjoy creating and facilitating prayer rituals and healing services. I develop and present programs for parish reflection days, and weekend retreats focusing on Women Scripture. I sing in several benefit concerts and am a member of an intergenerational singing group called the Tapestry Singers, which has raised over $65,000 through benefit concerts to provide medicine for Kateri Clinic in Nigeria, Africa. For many years, I’ve been a faithful participant in my Catholic tradition. However, I also felt something was missing and could not put my finger on it until my Spiritual Director, Sr. Cathy Murtha, DW introduced me to Wisdom. Sr. Cathy invited me to a Wisdom Circle where I met a group of Daughters of Wisdom, associates, and laywomen who were warm, caring, authentic and were willing to share their journey with Wisdom with me. Wisdom Circle has forever changed my desire to know and experience Wisdom in creation, in the arts and the ordinary experiences of my life. In May 2010, I made my First Promises (now called Covenant) as an Associate of Wisdom. I was recently elected to the Leadership Team by the Associates of Wisdom community to be a Co-Director on the Associate Coordinating Team (ACT).

MARIA ROJA, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM, CO-DIRECTOR Associate Since 6/25/2011

MARIA ROJA, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM, CO-DIRECTOR Associate Since 6/25/2011

+ How I live out the mission of Wisdom

I live out the Associate of Wisdom mission “Together We Love, Live & Proclaim Wisdom” by spreading the Wisdom Charism to others through my active participation as a member of the Fire In Our Hearts, CT planning team which is engaged in developing and presenting Wisdom Spirituality programs in a variety of community settings. I am also an active member of the Wisdom Circle planning team and, as a member, I prepare Wisdom Circle materials for Associates and any others who would like to join us when we meet. I also try to live Wisdom’s ways daily.

+ Autobiography

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York until the age of 10 when my parents, older brother and I moved to Suffolk County on Long Island in the days long before the Long Island Expressway came to be. Eventually, my husband and young family of 3 children relocated to Connecticut where I currently reside. My career as a legal secretary/paralegal spanned 20 years, and once my family was grown and living on their own, I returned to college and earned a Bachelor’s degree in General Studies (BGS) from the University of Connecticut. Having a longstanding love for social justice and the social teachings of the Catholic Church, I continued my studies there and earned a Masters in Social Work (MSW).

Once working as a social worker, I was able to acquire specialties in the areas of geriatrics and hospice social work.

After the death of my husband, I began devoting much of my spare time to attending spirituality programs, including the completion of Just Faith – a two-year program focused on the social teachings of the Catholic Church. By this time, I had become a dedicated seeker of God’s Truth and was also looking for an authentic Christian community. During my two years of training as a Spiritual Director, a Daughter of Wisdom invited me to a Wisdom Circle. That was the beginning of my introduction to Divine Wisdom and finding an authentic community. The Daughters of Wisdom and others in the Wisdom Circle were warm, welcoming, and patient with me; especially after expressing my inability to understand, they just smiled and told me to keep coming– which I did. Eventually, Wisdom got me. After that, I pursued a 2-year certificate program in Lay Ministry specializing in Adult Faith Formation and became active in my parish community. I made my First Promises (now called a Covenant) as an Associate in 2011. I am retired now and was recently elected to the Leadership team by the Associates of Wisdom community to be a Co-Director on the Associate Coordinating Team (ACT). I also am the grandmother of 4 grandchildren: two in their mid-twenties, and two ten-year-old cousins. I am truly blessed and forever grateful.

ELLIE FILIPPONE, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM Associate since 9/13/01, past Co-Director

ELLIE FILIPPONE, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM Associate since 9/13/01, past Co-Director

+ How I live out the mission of Wisdom

In my day to day comings and goings, I try to live as the best I can be as a human being. And in this way, I strive to be the embodiment of our mission statement: “to love, live and proclaim Wisdom.” I am conscious of the way I act and react to others, to all of Wisdom’s creation and to the gift of life and in doing so my commitment as an Associate of Wisdom comes to life.

+ Autobiography

A relatively recent New Yorker, I was born and raised in Connecticut. I live in Wantagh close to Jones Beach. The beach is and always has been my place of joy. I see the beauty of Wisdom’s creation in every detail of a beach. But then again, I see the glory of Wisdom’s work in all of nature, in all creatures and each person I encounter.

Some of my happiest days came in my years as a mother of two daughters, Robin and Jill, and later as the proud grandmother of Alex, my grandson. Raising the girls has been one of my greatest assignments and one of my most challenging pleasures. Being Alex’s Grammy is my joy.

My career was in the field of radiology, first as an x-ray technologist and then after more study as a nuclear medicine technologist. I loved working in that arena where I was able to minister to patients with all types of medical conditions. Wisdom was with me each day as I encountered people with cancer, thyroid problems, liver disease, and some just needing to talk. It was a gift to be able to be a part of their day - if only for an hour.

While I worked in the medical field I felt a strong pull toward ordained ministry and so I began taking courses at Hartford Seminary where I received a Master of Arts with a focus on ministry in daily life. Once finished with my studies, it dawned on me that I already had a ministry career in the workplace and so ordained ministry fell off my radar.

The realization of the feminine aspect of the Holy evolved during my days at the seminary under the tutelage of Dr. Miriam Therese Winter, in concert with my association with Wisdom House and then meeting the Daughters of Wisdom. Thus Wisdom became real and viable. For me, Wisdom is all of reality. Wisdom is God alone.

AUDREY SCHROEDER, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM Associate since 5/27/2007, Current Member at Large

AUDREY SCHROEDER, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM Associate since 5/27/2007, Current Member at Large

+ How I live out the mission of Wisdom

My spiritual life was enlightened 10 years ago when I became an Associate of Wisdom. So many of the things I felt about creation and all organisms, from a human being to a pebble in the woods, affirmed what I believed as a teenager...EVERYTHING isconnected.

The Sisters have taught me how to listen, to accept without agreeing with what others believe, and how to go into deep prayer in whatever way I am led and whatever way I need to just "be." Any participation in which I involve myself to fulfill my mandate to "Love, Live, Proclaim Wisdom" is most fulfilling.

+ Autobiography

I was born in Glendale, Queens where many of the Daughters of Wisdom from Gate of Heaven Parish ) taught, nursed and cared for the people in parts of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. (This was my Dad, Gilbert Schroeder's Parish as a child.) My second son Nicholas was Born on May 7th, 1983, Blessed Marie Louise's Feast Day. Christoper, my first son, was born April 2, 1982. Both boys are doing very well in their respective professions. Nick is a Human Resource Director, and both he and Chris live in Nazareth, PA. Chris teaches Math at Freedom H.S. in Bethlehem, PA, where my Dad was born. We lived in Glendale, upstairs in my Maternal Grandmother's house, until I was 5 and ready for Kindergarten. That house will always resonate in my heart. My husband, Bob Zeman (pictured below), is a retired business owner, computer engineer, carpenter and electrical engineer. We now live in Islip Terrace, NY.

I attended St. Barnabas School (now St. Elizabeth Seton Regional School) then public high school. My career took me from secretarial jobs to various part-time jobs when the boys were young, and then as they got older, I worked as the Executive Assistant to the Owner and CEO of an international company. I attended Nassau Community College and St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

PAT WOLOSZ, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM Associate since 4/12/2008, past Co-Director

PAT WOLOSZ, ASSOCIATE OF WISDOM Associate since 4/12/2008, past Co-Director

+ How I live out the mission of Wisdom

I live out the mission of the Associates of Wisdom by keeping the “wisdom spirit” of Our Lady of Wisdom Academy alive through working on our yearly newsletter as well as our luncheon which raises money for the Daughters of Wisdom retirement fund. In addition I also am a member of the Daughters of Wisdom Auxiliary Council which also raises money for the DWs most recently through a rummage sale in the fall and a holiday sale at Barnes and Noble. I also serve on the Fire in Our Hearts Core Committee. Fire in Our Hearts involves spiritual outreach wherein Daughters of Wisdom and Associates of Wisdom together spread Wisdom spirituality by writing reflections on social media which reach hundreds of subscribers every week. Personally, I work on deepening my own spirituality through reading and attending conferences at Wisdom House, Mercy Center etc., as well as sharpening my awareness of Wisdom—the Source and Substance of All--present in creation and in all the simple, ordinary experiences of my everyday life.

+ Autobiography

I was born and raised in Ozone Park, Queens, New York, with my younger sister. I attended Our Lady of Wisdom Academy where I met the Daughters of Wisdom, who impacted my life. I received a BA in English from Molloy College and an MA also in English from Fordham University. After teaching English for 33 years, 16 on the junior high level (which I loved) and 17 on the senior high level (which I found most challenging), I was ready for retirement which has enabled me to spend time traveling, to read for pleasure, to enjoy the company of good friends, and to begin my volunteer work for the DWs. In 2008, I made my First Covenant as an Associate of Wisdom and currently serve in the capacity of Co-Director on the Associates Coordinating Team. I presently live on Long Island in Wantagh considered the Gateway to Jones Beach. My sister, Florence, and brother-in-law, Barry, live next door with my two nieces: Carolyn, a publications editor in Manhattan and Jeannette, a microbiologist in the Northwell Health System. I am the proud godmother of both.