Written on: September 29, 2015
In person, on television and other forms of media, the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart like many others tuned in to the first visit by Pope Francis to Cuba and the United States. Themes he has continued to stress during his Papacy were repeated often. Of course, in Philadelphia he was helping to close the World Meeting of Families, and most of his comments had a family focus. To quote the Philadelphia Inquirer “…he spoke again and again about his solidarity with the poor and marginalized and the need to give of oneself in service to others. He spoke of communal values and the importance of strong and loving families, exhorted against the pursuit of wealth that exploits humans and the Earth itself, urged help for desperate immigrants, decried the sexual abuse of children, called for abolishing the death penalty, and emphasized religious freedom and tolerance.”
Sr. Anne Marie Beirne who had the opportunity to attend Vespers with Pope Francis at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York stated, “My heart overflowed with gratitude. It was a proud, humbling moment when Pope Francis thanked the American religious women for their service to the Church and mentioned so many ministries that have been the heart of who we are as Grey Nuns!”
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I believe that I have felt the impact of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart on my life even though I have not known any one of the sisters. My wife of forty-seven years was Ellen Elizabeth Durkin. She was educated in Buffalo by the Grey Nuns starting in elementary school, then though high school and finally Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from D’youville College, in 1957. Her life was as beautiful as her lovely appearance. She went to heaven in 2011. Thank you, sisters!