These religious sisters have a new mission in Arizona under Sister Bethany Madonna, and they're already hard at work.
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You’ve probably heard of the Sisters of Life, a religious order that’s growing by leaps and bounds. They have an extraordinary charism of protecting human life, including serving and accompanying women in crisis pregnancies.
The Sisters of Life were founded in 1991, but in 30 short years, they’ve spread across the continent. Besides their Motherhouse in New York, they have missions in Stamford, Connecticut; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Denver, Colorado; and Toronto, Canada.
Now the Sisters of Life have opened a new mission in Phoenix, Arizona, under the leadership of Sister Bethany Madonna. And the sisters of the new mission are already hard at work.
“Our mission of accompaniment to vulnerable pregnant women in crisis takes place at our convent, St. Agnes, in central Phoenix,” Sister Bethany Madonna said in an interview with Aleteia. “We also engage in evangelization and outreach on Arizona State University, Tempe’s Campus, hosting events for the students, meeting with them one-on-one and inviting them into our prayer.”
The sisters are already seeing evidence everywhere of God’s will for them to work in Arizona. The new mission has been “flooded with grace,” Sister Bethany said.
Here’s our conversation with Sister Bethany Madonna. We talked about why the Sisters of Life chose Arizona, what it was like to lead the new mission, and how Catholics all over the world can support the Sisters of Life.
What drew your order to start a mission in Arizona?
It was definitely a work of the Holy Spirit prompting us to come to the Diocese of Phoenix, and He used the perseverance and dedication of Bishop Olmsted, who has asked for our presence year after year since his arrival 18 years ago.
What is it like to spearhead a new mission?
Flooded with grace! Jesus has been so very present and so has His Blessed Mother! We have truly been overwhelmed by the incredible welcome we have received from the faithful of this diocese. It has been a beautiful experience of the thriving Church in the budding new springtime that St. John Paul II desired. We have also been made aware of the growing needs and hopes for collaboration. The Sisters and I have been spending our time getting acquainted with the ministries and resources available, while meeting new people and inviting them to join us in mission as Co-Workers of Life. There have also been several opportunities to share our charism. We are praying deeply for those entrusted to us, and have already started serving pregnant women who have reached out for support.
What will be your first priorities for on-the-ground ministry there?
Our first priority was to prepare the space for grace in readying our convent, St. Agnes. Here, we spend four hours a day in prayer. All of our works flow from this union with Jesus. We are now beginning to spread the word by mailing our brochures to every parish and distributing them at pro-life events and gatherings. Because we live in a Latino area, it is important to be bilingual, and so we started having Spanish class at the convent twice a week!
How can lay Catholics in various parts of the country support the work of the Sisters of Life?
Please pray for our fidelity to grace and obedience to the Holy Spirit’s inspirations, and for many holy vocations to our community! You can also sign-up to become a Co-Worker of Life by filling out the link on our website. There are countless ways to support our missions- by prayer, by practical assistance, through financial gifts, and by sharing our resources with others.
What’s the most important thing you’d want us to know about your work?
I want you to know that Jesus is alive, present in every aspect of our lives and so very in love with us — with you and me. He knows us particularly and is deeply concerned for our good. Our “work” is actually letting Him do His … or rather letting Him love us and allowing Him love others through us. I would say that being pro-life means first coming to receive my own life as a gift. Yes, your life is a gift, your love is totally unique and you are the only one who can give it! Give God permission.