Precious Blood Sisters experience growth spurt

  • October 5, 2013

The Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood are defying trends among women’s religious communities with an upswing in candidates interested in joining the order.

As many convents empty, and as many order’s nuns become too aged to participate in ministry, the Precious Blood Sisters find more women responding to their call.

The motherhouse of the English Canadian congregation in London, Ont., reported that six new women are planning to visit to consider a call to contemplative life. By late October, the number of sisters in temporary vows will be six. In addition, there are two other sisters — one Precious Blood and the second from another order — discerning their vocation with the sisters in London. With their lives centred on eucharistic adoration, they pray about five to six hours a day.

“It’s quite amazing. Most of them are women from other countries,” said Sr. Carol Forhan, vocation director at the Precious Blood Monastery.

“It’s been primarily women from the Philippines or Vietnam.” A few Canadians and one Nigerian woman have also shown interest.

Word of mouth is how women are learning about the Precious Blood Sisters in Canada.

“For the most part, there are people — a priest or a sister or a lay person — who knows us and our community and who gets to know that this young woman or another young woman is seriously feeling called to the religious life and have gotten to understand something of the contemplative life and are feeling drawn to a life of prayer,” said Forhan.

Additionally, there is reading material about the order’s founder, Mother Catherine Aurelia Caouette from St.-Hyacinthe in Quebec, translated into Vietnamese.

“What I find so beautiful, so amazing and such a deep joy for me is that I entered 55 years ago as a teenager feeling God’s call very strongly in my heart and in my spirit and… in this day and age, 2013, these young people are experiencing the same call,” Forhan said.

The community in London currently has 10 sisters, four of whom are finally professed with the other six in formation. Still, it doesn’t come close to the order’s 1963 population: 52 sisters in London, 200 sisters across the national congregation.

Last May, there were 60 Precious Blood Sisters across the country.

Forhan says the drop in religious vocations was significantly noticed in the mid-1960s and early ’70s, attributing the downward trend to “so much else out there that (women are) being drawn to as to how they will give their life.”

She notes that from 2008 and onwards there has been an upsurge of women deciding to know the sisters and consider the call; some stay and some don’t.

The sisters live a life of adoration, meditation, prayer and work. In English-speaking Canada, the sisters also have monasteries in Calgary, Hamilton, Ont., and Regina. There is a French-speaking community in St.-Hyacinthr, Que., where the order was founded in the mid-1800s. The Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood also exist in the United States and Japan.

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