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Feature Articles

A Sister to All – S. Delia Sizler

You are a Sister of Charity. How would you characterize SC values?
As a Sister of Charity I value our ability to balance in our lives prayer, service and community so we can witness to the Gospel of Jesus and do this in a spirit of humility—we can’t do everything; simplicity—we are given all we need; and charity—we serve in a loving and generous way. We know it is the charity of Christ impelling us, making any good we do possible.

When you think of a brave woman, who comes to mind?
A model for me was my dear friend, S. Mary Grafe. S. Mary was such a wonderful example of how to be happy in serving in places others might avoid. She and I together were able to be the founders of Bethany House of Hospitality, a homeless shelter for women and children. I leaned heavily on Mary’s wisdom and faith. She was a champion for the poor and never hesitant to be a voice for people being treated unjustly.

What do you wish people knew about religious life?
I love my religious life and wish more people in today’s society understood that Sisters are not deprived women. I have often said I feel like one of the most blessed women on earth and because of this I enjoy the freedom to respond to the needs of others, bringing real hope.

Could you describe a time when you provided spiritual guidance, and you felt you made a real difference?
An example of this is my opportunity as a counselor and as a Sister to relate to persons who are suffering. Some years ago, I provided life-giving support to an abused woman who had adopted six special needs children and who had escaped with them to another state. It was overwhelming for her, and for me, but because of our common faith we prayed and remained open to God’s grace. Believe me it was hard work getting them resettled. Years later we are still friends, she has married again and is finishing raising those children. She and her husband have, also, adopted two other babies. Like St. Elizabeth Seton who knew the power of friendship, I have been blessed having been God’s instrument for this family.
           
As I was helping the family of my friend who had been abused, I had Sisters who supported me. The Sisters with whom I lived took the six children on occasion for outings and for weekends to give their mom some respite. Helping each other like that is how we work things in community.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Sisterhood? What is it like to have a spiritual bond with other Sisters?
Besides the community support I had in local community, it is wonderful to be part of the larger Congregation - which itself is part of the Federation of Charity, a part of the Vincentian Family. Knowing there are hundreds and hundreds of us carrying the mission forward has been essential for me and it makes my individual life so much more meaningful.