(SNR) - The Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration (Pink Sisters) in the Diocese of Lincoln recently experienced a change among their local population.
Sisters Mary Henrita, Mary Joy and Mary Benigna have all moved to other convents, while Sisters Mary Amatrix, Mary Agnetis, and Mary Christia will move to Lincoln.
Both Sisters Mary Amatrix and Mary Agnetis are from the Philadelphia convent, while Sister Mary Christia is from Saint Louis. A fourth, Sister Mary Chrissanta, is arriving from the Philippines sometime in the next month or so.
"We go and we come. It’s part of our life," said Sister Mary Henrita.
"We love it," added Sister Mary Joy with a broad smile.
Laypersons might be surprised how much of the world a cloistered Pink Sister can experience.
Sister Mary Benigna said, "We are really international, from different countries, and then we are transferred—"
"—all over the world!" interjected Sister Mary Henrita, finishing her sister’s statement with a chuckle.
The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters are a truly international community, with 18 convents around the world in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. The sisters transfer from convent to convent when bid to do so by their superior general.
Both Sister Mary Joy and Sister Mary Benigna came to the U.S. from the Philippines.
"I didn’t have a hard time adjusting [to the U.S.]," Sister Mary Joy said. "With our congregation, wherever you go whether you go to—Africa, Germany, wherever—it’s the Blessed Sacrament that is really the center of our lives. It’s just so vibrant, that you feel at home."
Called "the Pink Sisters" because of their distinctive rose-colored habits symbolizing joy, the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters were founded in Steyl, Holland, in 1896. The first Pink Sisters convent in the U.S. was built in Philadelphia in 1915. Saint Louis, Corpus Christi and Austin followed.
In the 1970s, the Austin convent was found to be structurally unstable. Bishop Glennon Flavin, who knew the Pink Sisters from his tenure as auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, invited the Austin community to come to Lincoln, giving up his own home to serve as their convent. The sisters have maintained perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Lincoln ever since 1973.
Sister Mary Henrita and Sister Mary Joy have returned to Philadelphia, where Sister Mary Henrita made her first vows, and where Sister Mary Joy had her first assignment in the U.S. Sister Mary Benigna is back in Saint Louis.
Sister Mary Amatrix, who arrived in Lincoln just days ago, is the new superior for the Lincoln Pink Sisters. It’s her first time in Lincoln, as well as her first appointment as superior.
"They say this is an ideal place for somebody to start because first of all, the convent is small, and also because there is such a beautiful spirit among the people in Lincoln," Sister Mary Amatrix said.
She was touched that a group from the Pink Sisters Auxiliary was at the airport to welcome the sisters.
Already, she has gained the impression that the Diocese of Lincoln is, "such a beautiful, peaceful place" with zealous priests who love their vocations and a faithful laity.
"People have been very kind and very supportive," she said. "It’s a privilege to be here."
Because Lincoln is such a small community, the sisters need a great deal of support from laypersons.
"Especially in Adoration, and that is a big part of this convent," said Sister Mary Benigna. "They have really helped us with the 24-hour perpetual adoration."
Sister Mary Joy agreed. "They are so faithful—even if there is snow."
The three sisters who were moving away from Lincoln said they were looking forward to their new assignments, and reconnecting with other sisters they haven’t seen in some time. But, they added, there’s a touch of sadness in leaving the Lincoln convent.
"The people are so good to us," Sister Mary Henrita said.
"What impressed me most about Lincoln is how dynamic it is," Sister Mary Joy said. "You can see the Christian atmosphere. It seems like the first Christians – that’s how I see it."
"We hate to miss all the wonderful ladies who help us here in the auxiliary," Sister Mary Henrita added, the perpetual grin on her face fading only slightly. "All our auxiliaries are good, but this one is really outstanding. They’ve spoiled us."
The sisters are not allowed to receive personal letters, but they will stay informed about the Lincoln convent through a community newsletter. And, of course, they will pray.
"When we leave here, we are going to keep all these people in our prayers," Sister Mary Benigna declared.
"We are grateful for all the support they have given us," Sister Mary Joy said.
The Pink Sister’s chapel, the Eucharistic Church of Christ the King (1040 South Cotner in Lincoln), is open daily for Adoration and holy hours from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., with Mass at 7 a.m. Information about joining various lay organizations for men, women and children, including the auxiliary, is available in the chapel vestibule.