What the Church says

Pope Paul VI, in one of his sermons to a group of sisters said:

“The Church of God calls, makes an appeal, desires, needs religious women for an apostolic ministry that is nearer to the pastoral life, to the priesthood, to where there is the responsibility and the mission to save souls. You have gotten as far as education, service to the sick, to the schools, to the hospitals. The Church of God says, ‘Still more, my daughters. You are able to do and to give even more. I want you still closer.’

…The modern vocation of sisters is this: become collaborators in pastoral action. You are also called to become saviors of souls not only saviors of bodies or educators of children. You are to participate in the greatest of all charities… This is the charity of priests, the charity of the person who accepts to become pastor of souls. ‘Peter, do you love me? Pasture my sheep!’. This is the paradigm of the greatest of all charities. Well, today you are called to become the collaborators in this charity. To do this, though, you need to let go of anything that could seem like selfishness, incapacity, close mindedness in order to become collaborators, the most devout, the most necessary, the most fruitful in the pastoral apostolate of Church. A modern parish cannot do without sisters. You have become more necessary today than yesterday. In fact, in the past it was enough if you were in your monasteries, in your convents. Today you have to lose this ease and this tranquility. You will be placed among the crowds of laborers, workers, employees of our corrupted cities. You will become in your small cloisters, in your small groups, salt of the earth and light of the world, like priests are… I tell you, please understand! Try and understand this modern vocation of religious life.

I want to recommend another thing. Prepare yourselves! Are you prepared? No you are not. I say it perhaps exaggerating a bit. I know, but you must prepare yourselves more… (In conclusion) …Rejoice because your vocation is great, the mission is sublime, the call comes from God.“

(from “Discorses and Writings from Milan”, Paolo VI Institute, Edizioni Studium, Brescia-Roma 1997-1998, pp. 4078-4086