Family, Mission Impossible? What do families really need in today’s society? What is the biggest challenge that family life is facing? How can we integrate faith and day-to-day living? These are just some of the questions that 41 religious sisters from all five continents are hoping to find answers to over the next three weeks in their General Chapter here in Rome. They are the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and their mission is family.
“This General Chapter is one of election, but also of looking at how we can answer the needs of the family in today’s world”, says Superior General Sr. Janice Fulmer.
With cohabitation and divorce on the rise and the recent economic downturn putting added strain on many households, Sr Janice says that the needs of families are changing .
“We really try to meet the needs of families today, we ask what is their need and then we try to address it”, adds Sr. Janice.
But the sisters do more than just talk about supporting the family. They are there on the front line.
“We work with families in a variety of ways. We are particularly concerned with the religious and moral education of children and adults. We are involved in schools to help parents educate their children appropriately. We are also engaged in hospitals, because this is the time when families feel very vulnerable when one of their loved ones is ill”.
The congregation is also engaged in a variety of other social service areas, it has child-care services, as well as services to care for mentally and physically challenged children and adults.
One of these needs is without doubt giving young girls and women who find themselves alone and expecting a child, a place to call home, encouragement and family support.
“We have homes for unwed mothers so they are encouraged to keep their children rather then having abortions or unnecessary adoptions. If they want to take care of their own children, we try to really help them to do that”.
Founded in 1875, the international congregation of vowed women religious, is dedicated to the moral and religious renewal of family life. The Sisters live and minister in Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East, and North America. They are located in thirteen countries around the world.
For more information on the Sisters of the Holy Family and their services visit: www.nazarethfamily.org