According to the recent 2009 edition of the Official Catholic Directory there are some 1,484 sisters living and working in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Just a few years ago the number was closer to 2,500. They come from various ancient and proven traditions of Catholic spirituality: Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite and a wonderful variety of evangelical traditions of solid Christian existence. Over the centuries there have been countless forms of religious life and each has brought its own blessing to the life of the church. Each has given its own distinctive witness to the larger world.
We know from history that these women have devoted their lives to a great variety of ministries on behalf of the needy. As teachers they staffed schools and religious education programs beyond count. As nurses and health care specialists they provided care for the sick and infirm at all levels of need. These sisters have been involved in works of justice and peace in virtually all areas of Christian service.
By definition, religious life begins with God’s grace encountering deep human needs and hopes. Whether through lives of contemplative prayer or apostolic ministry these heroic women have embodied the Gospel of Christ and reached out in service. Again and again they generously rolled up their sleeves, stepped into the trenches and poured out their lives in the name of Christ. Seldom if ever justly recompensed over the years, these women of the church have been faithful pillars of strength and courage.