I am continuing a series on Catholic Sisters, nuns with whom I have had the pleasure and honor of working with here in Central Texas. I have been taking selections from different religious communities and what they have in common is extraordinary faith, talent, competence and generosity. They are a blessing to Central Texas and to the Universal Church.
Today, I call your attention to the wonderful work of Sister Mary Gloria Mar, FMA. That means that she is a Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco.
Inmy opinion, Sister Gloria is a great sign of hope in today’s Church. One of the great causes of sadness in my own life is that as the Church has been restricted and slowed down by internal conflicts over the last 30 or 40 years, as Catholics have started to identify themselves as liberal or conservative, and we became too internalized and concerned about the problems in our own parishes and dioceses. And while the missionary thrust, which flows from the very nature of the Church itself, has not been eliminated, it has certainly slowed down. Sister Gloria is a sign that we are beginning to make a turn.
Sister Gloria and her Salesian Sisters are really building up a program of lay missioners to bring the message of Jesus Christ to different parts of the planet, especially poor places, such as Haiti, the Sudan and Ethiopia through a program called VIDES (Volunteers In Development, Education, Solidarity). It thrills me that the leadership is being generated right here in little ole Austin, Texas. Sister Gloria has over the last few years sent at least 200 young people into challenging situations in 40 countries. They are real missionaries and certainly very real Christian heroes. I thank God for the VIDES volunteers, for the Salesians and for Sister Gloria.
I feel a little awkward in only being able to post the stories of six or eight of these great nuns, but it is important that we realize that each of them symbolizes the hundreds and even the thousands who are behind them expanding and continuing their work.