The Sisters of Jesus Our Hope
Proclaiming Jesus- Bringing hope
We, the Sisters of Jesus Our Hope, are consecrated women in the Roman Catholic Church who live the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience within religious community. Our life is lived at the heart of the Church as a public, corporate witness to God’s merciful love which is the source of hope.
“All my hope is in Your mercy, Lord.” — St Augustine
Centered on Jesus Christ who is our hope and the hope of all those we serve in the midst of the fears and uncertainties of this world, our community life extends into the work of the New Evangelization through an apostolate of faith formation and catechesis. Because we were founded to witness to the hope that is available to everyone through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we embrace a community life lived in hope and a mission of proclaiming hope in Jesus Christ. We can offer people the most precious gift of all — FAITH in Jesus Christ, the source of a HOPE that does not disappoint. (cf Romans 5:5 )
The foundational charism of any religious community is the Holy Spirit acting in a particular way for and in and through that community. Our charism is hope. There is a constant interfacing of this with our spirituality, our vowed life in community and our apostolate. Our charism of hope is experienced in its effects: interiorly in our spirituality and in our vowed life in community; exteriorly in our apostolate.
Supernatural hope is a theological virtue infused at Baptism “by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit”. (CCC #1817 )
“The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.”( CCC # 1818)
As Sisters of Jesus Our Hope, we aim to imitate Christ’s way of life through the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
By our profession of vows we offer God our heart and affections, our personal talents and gifts, our possessions and our will —all that we are and have — for his glory and the salvation of souls. In order to live hope-filled chastity, poverty and obedience, we aim to let our charism of hope give a particular perspective to everything we are and do — an eternal perspective.
By evangelical chastity each Sister commits herself to Jesus Christ with a joyful, undivided heart through a life of celibacy. Through evangelical poverty each Sister embraces a life poor in spirit and in fact, a life of labor, a life of limitation in the use of goods. And after the example of the Incarnate Son of God, each Sister makes a total offering of her will to God through evangelical obedience.
“The evangelical ideal of virginity… connot be compared to remaining simply unmarried or single because virginity is not restricted to a mere “no”, but contains a profound “yes” in the spousal order: the gift of self for love in a total and undivided manner.”( On the Dignity and Vocation of Woman #20)
We share a common vision for our simple manner of life within this community, a vision based on the Rule of Life according to St Augustine. Each Sister trusts that by yielding her will to God’s will, the greater good will happen and will bear fruit eternally.
“Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; it is you yourself who are my prize.
The lot marked out for me is my delight; welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me.” (Psalm 16)
As Sisters of Jesus Our Hope we wear a blue habit in honor of Mary, Mother of Divine Hope and a white veil which expresses the virtue of Christian hope. We wear our religious habit as a reminder to ourselves that we belong totally to God as well as a sign to others of God’s presence in the world. Wearing a habit is also a concrete means of living our vow of poverty.
Our daily lives as religious women are marked by a regular rhythm of prayer.
Based on the Augustinian tradition of religious life in the Church, our spirituality includes a special love for Sacred Scripture as the Word of God, unity and harmony in community and ongoing conversion of life. Each Sister spends time with her Divine Spouse each morning in meditation on Sacred Scripture in the tradition of Lectio Divina.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy to God, the living God.” (Psalm 84)
Daily she participates in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and has the privilege of adoring the Lord in a Eucharistic Holy Hour. The Eucharist is central to our life.
“O sacred banquet at which Christ is consumed, the memory of his Passion recalled, our soul filled with grace and our pledge of future glory received.” ( St Thomas Aquinas )
We pray the Liturgy of the Hours in common: Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer. Daily recitation of the Rosary deepens our devotion to Mary while daily spiritual reading and weekly study of Sacred Scripture urge us toward continuous formation in virtue. In addition we embrace community practices of silence and self-denial to strengthen our union with Christ.
A monthly Day of Recollection as well as an annual silent retreat made in community provide special times for deepening our own intimate relationship with Christ.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 )
Life in a religious community flows from the communion of the three Divine Persons in the Blessed Trinity. And this is the goal of the Sisters of Jesus Our Hope who strive to live a strong community life knowing that religious community is a Schola Amoris which helps one grow in love for God and for one’s sisters.
Therefore, as we live our vowed life in community we seek to “live together in harmony, one in mind and heart on the way to God” ( from the Rule of St Augustine)
Our common life is very important to us. It is here that we grow in our relationship with our Divine Spouse; it is here that we strive to support, strengthen and encourage one another in our love for Him and in fidelity to our way of life. We place a high priority on our shared faith life and we emphasize mutual respect, fraternal love and forgiveness in our relationships. We enjoy our times of common prayer, community meals and recreation-time spent together in our religious family.
The privilege of the Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ in our convent chapel reminds us that this sacrament of charity provides for us a perpetual source for our unity in community life, unity in diversity.
“In fact, the spirituality of communion, necessary to establish the dialogue of charity needed in today’s world, is born in the Eucharist.” ( Starting Afresh from Christ #26)
Participating in the mission of the Church in the spirit of the New Evangelization, we strive to proclaim that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God, risen and alive, the Savior whose Merciful Love was poured out for the salvation of all. We seek to be His instruments of healing and hope. We appreciate the grace of accomplishing our mission as a community.
It is the Gospel that impels us. Different personalities, different approaches, different locations but only one mission is ours — the explicit proclamation of the living person of Jesus Christ. Whether in the parish setting, on the University campus or the mission of Our Lady of Hope House, putting our lives at the service of the Gospel is our apostolate — a work of evangelization, catechesis and faith formation which flows from our prayer life, our community life and our charism of hope.
As Sister-catechists or Sister-evangelists, we try to communicate to others something of the absolute truth, beauty and goodness of God — to recognize that truth has a name: GOD… and to know that goodness has a face: JESUS CHRIST.
Our apostolate not only includes programs about God but also opportunities for a personal encounter with God Himself… leading people to be in communion with Jesus Christ because it is only He who can lead us to the love of the Father in the Holy Spirit — to share in the life of eternal joy and happiness with God Himself.
“Let us turn to Jesus! He alone is the way that leads to eternal happiness, the truth whosatisfies the deepest longings of every heart and the life who brings ever new joy and hope to us and to our world.” ( Benedict XVI )
St Therese of Lisieux, the great “doctor of hope”, born on the threshold of a century deep in despair, shows clearly how to live out the virtue of Christian hope:
“We can never have too great a trust in God’s love — God who is so powerful and merciful. One receives from Him as much as one hopes from Him”.
Becoming a Sister of Jesus Our Hope includes an initial year in the Postulancy which allows time for a gradual transition into religious life. This stage is followed by a two year Novitiate in which the novice is formed in the nature and spirit of the community as she learns how to live the evangelical counsels through a life of virtue and prayer. The second year of novitiate also offers preparation for apostolic work in accord with the mission and charism of the community.
“I count as nothing the kingdoms of the earth… because of my love for the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Antiphon for the Common of Virgins)
After careful discernment the novice is accepted to make her First Profession of Vows as a Sister of Jesus Our Hope. A Sister makes her first profession of vows for one year and renews her vows annually for four years. Then perpetual profession indicates that the Sister has the spiritual qualities to live her vowed life within community according to the purpose and spirit of the Sisters of Jesus Our Hope.
“How can I repay the Lord for His goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call upon the Lord’s name.
My vows to the Lord I will fulfill before all his people…” (Psalm 116)
Day by day, we experience many greater or lesser hopes, different in kind according to the different periods of life. Yet it becomes evident that we have need of a hope that goes further. It becomes clear that only something infinite will fully satisfy us.
Yes, “we need the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going every day. But these are not enough without the GREAT HOPE which must surpass everything else. This great hope can only be God who encompasses the whole of reality and who can bestow on us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain. The fact that it comes to us as a gift is actually part of hope. God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety.” (Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi #31)
All virtuous human conduct is really hope in action. Our actions engender hope hope for us and for others but at the same time it is the “great hope” based on God’s promises that gives us courage and directs our action in good times and bad.
Christian hope is not a refuge against suffering. We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. The virtue of hope is a power which sustains us to look difficulties in the face, to handle them and even to allow God to use them for our good. When every human security is taken away, we are called to place our trust in God alone (e.g. Abraham — Romans 4: 18-25) This kind of hope is strong and unshakeable because it is rooted in the triumph of the risen Christ.
As Blessed John Paul II often said: “Do not be afraid. Let us go forward in hope.”
“Risen and living Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Eternal Father, you are the source of true hope for the church and for humanity. In this life and in the life to come You are among us “the hope of glory”.
Your love conquers fear. Your light triumphs over darkness and evil. Suffering and death do not have the final word because you, Lord, are the “First and Last and Living One”.
You are the Lamb once slain yet standing at the right hand of the Father. Once you were dead, yet you live forever. Truly, you are our hope.”