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Tuesday, 12 November 2019 07:00

Do you wear brown pajamas? (and our other 10 most FAQ)

 2019.68.Do you wear brown pyjamas.BT


Whenever we meet people for the first time, they are often really curious about our life as a new group of consecrated women. And fair enough – choosing to live in a household of adult women, forgoing marriage, babies, fashion and make-up and giving your life so that the world may know that God loves them is certainly not your average lifestyle choice. So, here’s our answers to all those questions you may have had about the Sisters.

  1. Do you wear brown pyjamas?

In a word, no. Sleeping, exercising, swimming and doing the housework are all moments when we really don’t mind what colour we wear.

  1. What do you actually do?

Our ministries are predominantly in evangelization with young people and with those on the margins of society. We are open to the creative leading of the Spirit in any ministry in these areas. At the moment our ministries include parish and diocesan youth ministry, prison ministry, short-term overseas missions with teams of young people, pastoral care in hospitals, one-on-one mentoring/spiritual direction, parish talks and retreats, visits to schools and youth groups and probably a few other things that I have missed!

In addition to this mission side of things, at different points in a sisters’ life we also study or are in a period of formation as an ongoing source of personal growth. There are also many tasks that are “internal” that help the households run such as leadership, teaching and formation and other financial and administrative work.

  1. Where do you get your clothes from?

I don’t know about all the other sisters, but judging from the label of my current brown skirt, I’m pretty sure someone picked it up at Target in the 1990s! Our clothing comes from donations, from our ‘common cupboard’ (where we keep a few spare white shirts, brown skirts and fawn jumpers), from Vinnie’s, or sometimes from generous people who take us shopping.

  1. Does it ever get lonely?

We live a really beautiful life, filled with the support of our Sisters, our community, friends, family and other supporters. More often than not, the struggle is to find time to be alone, rather than the fact that we have no one to hang out with.

Despite all these beautiful connections in our life, though, there will be times when consecrated life can feel like a lonely path. It can be difficult to forgo the connection of one intimate relationship that many women find in a husband, but the call of this life is to continue to seek Jesus in these times, believing that he really is all we need, and also reaching out to others to receive God’s love. I guess it would also be fair to say that everyone in every state of life will experience loneliness from time to time, and consecrated life is no exception to this.

  1. Why brown anyway?

The Missionaries of God’s Love started in the 1980s, when lots of things were indeed brown. I guess brown is a connection with two of our patrons, Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, who wore a brown tunics. The actual source of our brownness, however, dates back to the very earliest beginnings when the three original MGL brothers looked in their wardrobes for a common set of pants and two emerged with the colour brown, with this look also being adopted by the Sisters. Since then brown has taken on a special significance in our identity.

  1. How long does it take you to become a fully vowed sister?

Usually nine years. Although there are variations and exceptions along the way, usually a sister will spend one year in pre-novitiate, make promises, spend two years in the novitiate, make initial vows and then spend six years in initial vows, before taking perpetual vows.

  1. Do you own a TV?

No. We’re trying our best to live a simple life and to embrace as many aspects of poverty and simplicity that we can. We’re also conscious of not filling our house with background noise of a TV or music, but instead aiming to have an atmosphere of stillness and silence.

  1. Why don’t you wear a veil?

When the Sisters began in 1987, the decision was made to adopt a distinctive style of consecrated dress that was simple and of the current era. This is similar to many other orders throughout history, who have worn the clothes of the society of the time, yet adopted a particular colour or style. In addition, the MGL Sisters were born out of a lay covenant community, the Disciples of Jesus, and so we wanted to be distinctive from the lay people but in a way that did not dramatically set us apart or separate us from our lay brothers and sisters.

  1. How often do you get to see your family?

Most sisters take an annual visit home to their family. In addition to this, our families are quite free to come and visit us throughout the year as is appropriate, and we can receive phone calls, emails and messages from them in a fairly unrestricted way.

  1. Where do you get your food from?

We rely on God’s providence for all our needs, and live primarily on donations. We are fortunate enough to have found various businesses who support our life and missions through regular donations of meat, fruit, vegetables, bread and other sorts of foods. For all the other essentials, we use our funds to buy from the supermarket.

  1. What does your house look like?

At this point in time all of our houses are residential homes and are located in suburban areas of Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, and have the appearance of being just like any other Australian home. Each of our houses has a room set aside as a chapel, so our houses are special because we have Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament in the very midst of our daily lives.

Berna Toohey