Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

2004 World Day For Consecrated Religious Life

By SISTER JOYCE ANN HERTZIG, OP, Special Contributor | Published February 5, 2004

Baptism calls each of us as Christians to proclaim God’s greatness, to accomplish God’s will, and to actively participate in solidarity with one human family. We each accomplish these mandates moving along different paths.

Young people and some “not-so-young” people, both men and women, are called to a path known as Religious life. Those who answer this call formally express a willingness to take on a life of consecrated celibacy, voluntary poverty and faithful obedience. The profession of vows takes place only after a period of discernment and formation (training) within a particular congregation or community. With vows, in the words of Sandra Schneiders, IHM, in “Selling All,” the person says, “ I commit my whole self, everything and forever, to the undying love that has claimed me for the transformation of the world.”

Religious vows have a prophetic reality because like the prophets in the Old Testament, they mediate an encounter with God, particular people and the culture. They pose a plan for an alternative future. Religious identify what is death dealing in a culture and call it into question.

Specific circumstances through the centuries have called for charity and justice to transform the world through the birthing of numerous Religious congregations of men and women. Prophecy calls one to challenge unjust systems and practices, to announce God’s plan that no one be hungry, that everyone have land or a place to call home, and that oppression of the poor and marginalized cease. Does this sound unrealistic? Does religious life sound “out of sync” with today’s culture? Are you being called to vowed consecrated life?

Sunday, Feb. 8, is designated by the Holy Father as “World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life.” Please join in prayer for those who live the consecrated life by religious profession. Pray that they are witnesses who can speak truth to power through their simple living, their loving relationships, and their faithful listening to God’s will.

Those interested in learning more about religious life—as a Religious sister, brother, or priest—are invited to attend the first Saturday of the month gatherings at the Catholic Center, Emory University, 1753 N. Decatur Road, NE, Atlanta. The session opens with Mass at 9 a.m. and after study and discussion concludes at 11:30 a.m. Contact Father Tim Hepburn at (404) 636-7237 or or Sister Carmen Cabrejos at (404) 636-5970 or

Sister Joyce Ann Hertzig, OP, is a member of the vocations committee of the Atlanta Conference of Sisters