THE SISTERHOOD OF OUR LADY OF GOOD HELP
The Catholic Studies Women’s Houses are Christian communities of women who are seeking Christ though a life of prayer, scholarship, sisterhood and self-giving. Together the members of these households constitute the Sisterhood of Our Lady of Good Help. Through a rule of life that includes mass and personal prayer, study, service and hospitality, we hope to be more deeply conformed to the image of Christ. In this effort we depend on the intercession of our patrons: Our Lady of Good Help, St. Gianna Molla, St. Margaret Mary and St. Edith Stein.
FOUR PILLARS OF THE SISTERHOOD
A woman of the Sisterhood of Our Lady of Good Help is seeking Christ. She recognizes that without an intimate and persistent encounter with God she is an empty vessel. The women rely on the sacraments and the liturgy of the church to ground their common prayer and their life together. In addition, they seek times of personal prayer and devotion as guided by the Holy Spirit. Within the Sisterhood, women offer each other accountability and encouragement to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
The women of the Sisterhood understand their college years not just as a “phase of life” but rather as the vocation to which God has called each of them for this time. They seek excellence in their studies, both to bring glory to God and as a means of seeking Christ, the one Truth to whom all knowledge leads. They also recognize that the disciplines of scholarship can be a path to virtue, in particular the virtues of self-control, humility and perseverance. As Catholics they rejoice in the complementary relationship between faith and reason, and they seek to prepare themselves for engagement with the world through the sharpening of their minds. Within the houses, sisters respect the need for time and quiet for study, celebrate successes and encourage one another in the challenges of scholarship.
God honored our Blessed Mother by allowing her to be the first to welcome Christ into the world. Her hospitality to our Lord required a dying to herself, of her plans and expectations, in order to make room for another. Following in her holy example, the women of the Sisterhood seek to empty themselves in order to receive Christ in her neighbor.
This gift of self is practiced first and foremost by opening her heart and her life to the gift of her housemates, whom have been given to her by God. She learns to resist selfishness and grow in patience, to offer personal sacrifice in order to seek the good of her sisters. The women also serve each other by sharing space, by working together to create a warm and inviting home, and by welcoming guests into their homes and the life of the Sisterhood.
Through our common baptism, all Christians are adopted by our Heavenly Father and become brothers and sisters with one another in a new family. In our households, by living and studying and praying together, the women of the Sisterhood of Our Lady of Good Help seek to establish a true sisterhood. Just as in our natural families, we do not choose these sisters. Yet we seek to receive one another as companions on our journey to holiness, chosen for us by Divine Providence. We want to learn to be good friends to one another, with that type of deep friendship that continually leads to deeper union with Christ and his Church.
OUR RULE OF LIFE
Personal Practices (to be kept individually or, when possible, with other sisters)
Night Prayer and Examination of Conscience each evening
Recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Weekly Sisterhood Commitments
Community Dinner and Prayer (alternating weekly between household and Sisterhood dinners)
Morning Prayer and Mass (one morning a week)
Sisterhood Retreats for prayer and planning are held the Saturday after the first week of classes each semester.