Several religious communities will host open houses in February

As part of the celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life, religious communities of women and men around the country are holding open houses next Sunday, Feb. 8. In the Diocese of Peoria, four communities have announced plans to greet people and offer insights into consecrated life in the days to come.

Due to their retreat, The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis will hold their open house on Sunday, Feb. 15, from 1 to 4 p.m. It will include guided tours of the motherhouse, 1175 St. Francis Lane, and provide opportunities to talk to the Sisters about their life and work in health care, hear their vocation stories, and experience “our Franciscan hospitality” with refreshments.

Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, major superior of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, said her community is looking forward to sharing with their guests “the joy of living a life of consecration to God.”

“It is from this essential foundation, of consecration to God that our Sisters serve in our sacred ministry of health care along with 15,000-plus individuals ‘in the Spirit of Christ and after the example of Francis of Assisi,'” she said.

The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis own and operate OSF Healthcare System.

The East Peoria community also will hold open houses this summer so people can “Come and Serve with Us” and in September so they can “Come and Pray with Us.” More details will be announced closer to each event.

The Daughters of St. Francis of Assisi will hold an open house at St. Joseph Convent, 507 N. Prairie St., on Sunday, Feb. 8, from noon to 3 p.m. It will open with prayer and close with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Benediction, according to Sister M. Loretta Matas, DSF, regional superior.

In between visitors will have a chance to see the convent, enjoy light refreshments, see a vocation DVD, and ask questions.

The Community of St. John will open their doors on Sunday, Feb. 8, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Brothers will have snacks available. Guests are welcome to join the Brothers and Sisters for Mass at 11 a.m.

St. Joseph’s Priory is located at 11223 W. Legion Hall Road, with the Contemplative Sisters of St. John next door at 11227 W. Legion Hall Road. The Apostolic Sisters of St. John are located at 10809 W. Legion Hall Road.

The Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery are inviting people to join them for vespers at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5. Sister Sandra Brunenn, OSB, said their prayer will focus on the vocation to consecrated life and be offered in thanksgiving for the gift it is to the church.

They will continue to open the doors of their monastery chapel, 2200 88th Avenue West, for vespers on the first Thursday of each month.

Msgr. John J. Prendergast, episcopal vicar for religious for the Diocese of Peoria, has also encouraged parishes in central Illinois to recognize the consecrated men and women serving in their faith communities, and to include them in the Prayers of the Faithful at Masses next weekend.

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