Photo Credit: Sawyer Salgado/ Piktochart
On January 22, 2020, history teacher Dana Nazaretian’s students of Set 1 were discussing the longevity of the lives religious affiliations and members. Nazaretian said, “There is a correlation between longer life of people like priests and nuns and it’s wonderful.”
So, Achona that wants to know the secrets to unlock immortality, and interviewed the sisters and asked them how to live a long and meaningful life with God.
Sister Mary Glavin
“I believe for me the “secrets” are that I know I am doing what I was called to do, and my ministry of counseling and teaching Theology is very fulfilling and I hope life-giving to others. Another reason for me is that by being a part of the SNJM community I am continually inspired by the devotion to the poor, the passion for social justice and strong faith of my Sisters. I am blessed to be able to be supported in living out Blessed Marie Rose’s vision.”
Sister Ann Regan
“I’m probably a wonderful example to for you to talk to because in my immediate family, all of them died before 65 years old. I am not telling you my age but I have hit 65, I was thinking about my brother. The differences in the support I had- that he had in a different way. First of all, I have a vow of poverty, and that vow deprives me of some luxuries . It assures I don’t overspend and I think that financial worries are a big high blood pressure factor. It’s not that I don’t want things, because I do, but I can’t get them. Particularly in our society where commercialism is so much what everyone wants and has to have. I remember I was teaching in meaning and values, and was teaching needs and wants. I want a lot of things but I don’t need them, and to be able to say I don’t need that it’s easy for you to say no.
I think that community life has really been a support to me but it’s interesting, because of it, the structure of it has been pretty healthy. When we all lived together, one of the sisters cooked healthy. Our work style required us to exercise. All of that was part of the given, so that applied us to have healthy nutrition and exercise. Alcohol and drug use was reasonable, I wasn’t in a situation where I could as easily have that become a problem.
Because of our lifestyle that is quite structured compared to my brother, I have lived a life of prayer, daily mass, and spiritual meeting. I have fed my body and my soul, community life had that in my structure of my day. It’s not that I’m better than another person because when you have your agenda set you get it done. When you have a free day on Saturday everything goes.
I have been surrounded by people who support me and not only share my values, but are role models to me. You have people who are educated, that is very important, they are much smarter than I am but they can share their knowledge with me. People that have more talents, Sister Lisa with the arts, which I don’t have at all, but she can help me appreciate that. It keeps you social, and aware of a lot of different opportunities, social, religious, justice, it’s just what we do. It’s kept me active. So it’s not time for me to jump off the boat yet.”
Sister Lisa Perkowski
“Different things I became aware of at different ages. So one thing I was aware of at your age and into college was that was to love what you do and find a sense of purpose in your life is one ingredient. I knew I didn’t want to be like my parents per se, in that I didn’t want to work just to earn an income. I wanted to work because it was something I cared about and used my gifts. For me it wound up finding a love for teaching children and marrying that with my love of the arts. And so I’ve been really happy doing that. Another thing for me has been finding a place where I can work and live the values of my faith because that matters to me.
A second ingredient I’m just digging into in my life currently is how important it is to have self compassion. As a sister I have always cared about the needs of the world and always looked out at the suffering and felt pain for others and wanted to help heal that. For me that was through education, if I can teach kids and help them become wholesome people it will help make the world a better place. I never realized until I was older how I wasn’t compassionate to myself. The way I want to treat others with patience and love I need to talk that way to myself. So that’s been a whole new learning to me to be aware that I’ve always had this sense that God loves us but I need to train myself to not only pray and know God’s love but treat myself with God’s love. It’s this whole quote, “love thy neighbor as thyself,” and thinking and reflecting on that.
When you have a greater love for yourself you are more patient with yourself, you’re not as judgemental, it helps you let go of fear, by treating yourself with that love you are giving more to others. One can be so much freer about who she is and enjoy life on a whole other level. Instead of worrying about things like that isn’t good enough, I didn’t do a good enough. So I think right now those are two ingredients, I think because we love I have realized that relationships are more important than the other things in life and without relationships we live in isolation we don’t thrive. We need each other to thrive, I think sisters because they are concerned about people and care about people and want to be connected to people in the world.
Immortality is living the kingdom of God right now we are trying to make what we imagine eternity to be, Heaven, it’s trying to make it exist now. Through how we treat people and how to promote justice and advocate for people that is going to let everyone experience a long and good life here and now.”