Yesterday I received a phone call from one of the Bernardine Sisters who lives and ministers at our parish.
She wanted to know if the Secular Franciscans would like the books from the Sisters' library at the convent. We do have a small library maintained by our fraternity, and many of the resources in it are out of date and in bad repair (in fact, SFO Girl and her daughters just culled many books from the library for that reason).
"We have to get rid of the books," she told me. I accepted her offer, and she said that she would let me know when the books were in boxes and ready to be moved.
After our phone conversation was over, it occurred to me that the Sisters were giving away their library because they must be moving. I confirmed this with the parish secretary, who said, "Didn't you know that?"
No, I didn't know. I'd heard a rumor, but I have been being careful not to pay too much attention to those. Rumors run wild during mergers and changes of administration, and all the drama wears me out.
Five Sisters live in our parish convent. They are a wonderful gift to our parish in their ministry and in their very presence. The sisters teach religious education as well as ministering to the sick and bereaved.
Later in the afternoon, I was speaking to another member of my fraternity. She was also surprised that I didn't know that the Sisters were leaving. And she suggested that our fraternity sponsor a farewell for the Sisters before their departure. A great idea, I thought. The Sisters are, after all, members of our Franciscan family.
Our parish will be a great deal poorer without these five Sisters in our midst. Please pray for them as they prepare for their moves, and pray for the ministries they leave behind. May God bless them.