‘The Promise of a Deep and Faithful Love’


This is a reflective retrospective drawn from my half a century of religious life as a Sister of the Resurrection. Looking back, the first movement of germination of the seed of God’s call was simply the attractiveness, the wonder of learning that an unseen God was present and accessible among us. I came to learn that God was extraordinary in His Triune mystery, and ordinary in His incarnate Son. The testimony of Sacred Scripture far outweighed the fascinating fairy tales I so loved to read and reread as a young girl. Why? Because the Triune God of mystery was love without measure, desiring happiness and fullness for all those He called into being.   

Learning to pray, not just with words, but with my own inherent mystery of heart and soul, led me to realize that by praying, I exchanged love with this wondrous God of love. The exchange of heart-to-heart was life-giving, meaningful, purposeful.

By the time I was 14  years old, it seemed that it was ordinary to marry and have children; just about everyone did this. I was drawn to the reality of “something more,” the unseen spiritual reality that stretched me beyond what was sensible.

Who would be enough? Who would satisfy my heart’s longing? How might I live beyond the ordinary?

The fiat of Mary, her story, certainly inspired me and served as a model of the fullness of female engagement with the Divine wonder of God’s nearness, activity and impactful relationship with persons who dared to offer themselves as devoted, intimate collaborators with the God Who “writes straight with crooked lines.” It was attractive to step into the drama of the Divine Revelation. 

God’s call to religious consecration offered the promise of a deep and faithful love, a life of solidarity with others who shared a similar affinity. Together we came to know God, to explore our unfolding questions and wonders. Together we explored aspirations and took on challenges as we tried to serve meaningfully with outpoured human love guided by grace.

The daily praying of the Divine Office, the sung hymns that were accented by harmony, the daily reception of Jesus in Holy Communion during the Sacrifice of the Mass, the unfolding of the day’s purpose, the punctuation of regular laughter, the collegial support, friendships, the never-ending life lessons that yielded competence and wisdom for sharing with others...so much wholesomeness, so many humanizing blessings, such a sense of being rooted in what really matters most. This is the richness of consecrated community life and ministry.

In short, this is what my heart and soul garnered over a half century of consecrated life as a Sister of the Resurrection. We strive to live the paschal mystery and proclaim: “Because God loves us, we pass through the cross and death to Resurrection and Glory.”  

We are the only religious community in the universal Church founded by a mother and daughter together. We have a commitment to serve and support women: single, married, mothers, widows, grandmothers and fellow consecrated religious. Celine, and her daughter, Hedwig, left us this legacy by their own lives. We continue this inheritance by our international presence and service in nine different countries. Religious consecration then, is a way to live a way of love.

Sister Marie Pappas, C.R., is celebrating her golden jubilee of religious life.