Diocesan News

Religious in Diocese Mark World Day for Consecrated Life

The World Day for Consecrated Life honors the gift of God’s call to women and men who serve in the Diocese of Brooklyn as sisters, brothers, religious older priests, secular institutes and consecrated virgins. The four-hour retreat was held at the diocesan chapel  in Park Slope, Feb. 1. Above, the religious men and women renewed their vows during Mass. (Photos: Melissa Enaje)

Windsor Terrace — For the consecrated men and women who minister in schools, hospitals and parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn, celebrating the World Day for Consecrated Life meant setting aside a few hours during a weekend diocesan retreat on Feb.1 to reflect, pray, enjoy fellowship and renew their vows.

Sister Maureen Sullivan, O.P., the main speaker for the event held at the chapel in the chancery, discussed the importance of each order’s special charism, or spiritual gifts and abilities, its vocation and the communities they serve.

“Things are changing in religious life and when I say, ‘don’t preserve the ashes’ I mean the ashes are burned, that’s yesterday,” Sister Maureen said. “We want to preserve the fire that our founders gave us — the charism will always be meaningful in all the days to come.”

After Sister Maureen’s talk, an open dialogue forum began amongst  attendees. Topics included the need for theological education as the foundation for children and lay people, as well as the growing importance of the laity’s role in the church.

The afternoon Mass was celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, and concelebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto. During Mass, those in consecrated life renewed their commitment to serve God and the church.


The diocese is home to men and women who embrace many forms of consecrated life. In Brooklyn and Queens, there are 601 religious sisters, 75 religious brothers, 153 religious order priests, five contemplative/monastic communities, two consecrated virgins and 20 members of different secular institutes, according to Sister Maryann Seton Lopiccolo, S.C., the episcopal delegate for religious in the diocese.

Serving some of the poorest, mostly uninsured and sickest patients in New York, Doreen Rowtie said she begins her day with 4 a.m. meditation, asking God for direction.

“Very often I have to hold the hands of the dying,” Rowtie said. “This is when you have an opportunity to pray with them, you have an opportunity to send them to our Lord and at the same time, loneliness is a great deprivement of people. I watch them go and at the same time ask the Lord to receive their soul. It’s one of the best gifts any person can give to another person.”

She’s been a lay missionary member from the Secular Institute of Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ for 12 years.

Pope St. John Paul II instituted World Day for Consecrated Life in 1997 to highlight the gift of consecrated persons for the church.


Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, left, greets a member of the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by St. Mother Teresa, after Mass in the diocesan chapel in Park Slope, Feb. 1.