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Sisters dare youth to trust more in God

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Sr Mary Grace SV shares her hopes for the Sydney tour of the Sisters of Life. Photo: Sisters of Life, Martin Jernberg Photography
Sr Mary Grace SV shares her hopes for the Sydney tour of the Sisters of Life. Photo: Sisters of Life, Martin Jernberg Photography

Sr Mary Grace SV is one of four Sisters of Life who travelled to the US from Sydney this week to share insights from their lives of prayer and service to the sanctity of human life.

Well-known to many Catholics as a former leader of young adult ministries in Sydney (then Jessica Langrell), she shared their hopes for the visit with The Catholic Weekly shortly after arriving with Sr Rose Patrick O’Connor (also an Aussie), Sr Miriam Bethel and Sr Marie Veritas.

Their tour, hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney’s University Chaplaincies, opens with a talk at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday 18 April and concludes with a Fidelis young adult evening at ACU Strathfield on Wednesday 24 April.

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Register for the remaining events at unicatholics.org.au/sisters-of-life-2024-sydney-tour

Thank you for visiting our shores. What are you most looking forward to?

God is always about a mighty work in our lives. Whether it’s clear and obvious, or we are full of fear and the unknown, Jesus moves.

When we were invited to come out, we knew God had a special gift in mind for our time in Sydney and we are eager to see what God has in store for the hearts that are open to him, at this time in our history.

We’re all in need of more hope, more joy and the stability of God’s presence and love. Our God is a miracle-worker and nothing is beyond his rescue and renewal. May our hearts open wide to him.

Many young Catholics are faithful to the church and its teachings but they welcome encouragement when it comes to going out of their comfort zones and into mission. From your experience ministering to college students and other young adults, do you notice something similar in the US?

The world around us often seems confused and chaotic. It can be daunting and honestly frightening to consider going out on mission when much of what we believe is rejected.

The Kingdom of God was never our project or idea from the start. It was God’s idea and the power and love of Jesus conquered all evil and darkness and still does today.

If we believe it’s on us, we’ll be paralysed, easily burnout and back off. This is God’s mission and we’re invited to believe it’s on him and get used to trusting him with every detail of our life.

Then it becomes less of a duty and more of a joyful adventure with the God who loves me and shares his desire for each human heart to know its worth.

Sr Mary Grace SV from the Sisters of Life. Photo: Sisters of Life
Sr Mary Grace SV from the Sisters of Life. Photo: Sisters of Life

Why do you think Gen Z Catholics in particular might need inspiration to take those steps from early discipleship to mission?

We’re all poor and timid at times. We all struggle with sin and find it hard to trust. God never asked us to save the world or do it alone. He’s lifted the heavy weights and he knows what we need.

He promised us himself to each of us and he designed it so that we’d do this service together. Christ is calling us back into a radical unity. Our hearts yearn to belong and we’ll never be satisfied with solo striving.

What we need is a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit and all his gifts to unite us to the real, living person of Jesus and bind us back together as a community.

What are the most common questions young people ask you about your life of prayer and service? What are they most thirsting for?

People often comment on our joy and they know it’s more than just smiles. And they know they’re made for it. Joy is the result of a relationship.

And not just any relationship, but the freedom and stability of knowing Jesus Christ who saves me and stays with me. We were not meant to get by alone or create a life worth living.

Deep down in every one of our hearts is a desire to know that we are good, that our life matters and that God has a plan, that we are known and noticed.

We’re created for constant communion with God and anything less than living in relationship with Jesus is not going to suffice.

We thirst for God and the heart is seeking the satisfaction only Jesus can bring. People ultimately want love. To love and know they are loved.

It’s what we’re made for, it’s why we are here and it’s where we long to be—in relationship with our God who is love.

What do you hope young people will take away from your Sydney tour?

We hope people takeaway the grace God gives them during the tour. We’re all on a journey and we’re all in need of something more. Our need is not the problem, it’s where we go that matters.

Jesus is the answer to every ache and he knows precisely what we need and when. Our takeaway hope is that every heart we meet will open the door of their heart wider to Jesus.

At a time when it seems the world discards the gift of life and its value, the truths of the Catholic faith radiate all the brighter.

Even as the world seems to turn its back on the most vulnerable, those in distress or in need of help, Jesus refuses to walk away and stands by us and reminds us of the good we can struggle to see in ourselves.

God has not and will not ever cease working out good in everything in our life. We hope we can witness to the truth that Jesus changes everything. We dare you to believe with us.

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