Nuns from Servants of the Lord visit St. Jude the Apostle Church

February 17, 2024

It was the first time some of the students had ever seen a nun.

A pair of nuns from the Servants of the Lord order visited St. Jude the Apostle Church Feb. 4 and 5, to give religious education students a peek behind the habit. They talked about their call to the religious vocation, how they live and what it's like to be a nun.

Students learned that nuns eat pizza, drive cars and use cellphones. "I grew up normal," laughed Sister Refuge of Sinners, saying she loved soccer, basketball, softball and music.

She usually goes by Sister Refuge, jokingly pointing out, “You really can't call me Sister Sinner."

The two young nuns exuded joy as they spoke, frequently giggling as they answered questions from the students. They explained their vows and why they take a new name, and described the parts of their habit. The students asked numerous questions and seemed to relate to the two sisters.

The nuns, Sister Refuge and Sister Light of Confessors, also explained that there can be many kinds of vocations and they aren't limited to living a religious life. Answering a call to serve God is not like hearing a sudden voice from the clouds, said Sister Refuge: "It usually comes from your heart." Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara is a relatively young order founded in Argentina in 1988 ( 

There was a bit of disappointment that the nuns don't wear makeup, and the news that all 30 sisters share one cellphone was met with deafening silence. Still, the children peppered the nuns with questions, even learning that one of them had been in a serious relationship before joining the order.

In college, Sister Refuge began dating a young man. She said it was a good relationship, and she knew she would have been happy living a married life. But she felt called in a different direction. So, she broke up with the young man, who has since entered the seminary. "I had always believed in God," she said. "Maybe he was asking me to give him my heart."

"I wanted to be like Mary," she added. "Did Mary ever say no to God?"

The nuns even poked fun at themselves: "I heard about these crazy sisters in blue and gray," joked Sister Light. Their blue-and-gray habits are meant to symbolize that Christ is both fully man and fully God, they said, noting that different orders wear different colors.

St. Jude Christian Formation Director Michael McShane arranged the visit in an effort to introduce students to part of the Catholic faith they might not be familiar with. St. Jude's religious education program does not include any nuns.

He reached out to several orders to give students insight into a different of Catholic life. It was also a chance for a little gentle recruiting as he urged students to perhaps consider what it might be like to live as a nun, brother or priest.

"Just think about it," he said.

McShane noted that both sisters, ages 25 and 31, struggled somewhat before accepting their vocation. He said that is not unusual or even unexpected.

The pair discussed what it means to live a consecrated life, explaining that they are devoted to God like the chalice used in Mass, a consecrated vessel. "Suppose I poured a Dr. Pepper in it and drank it?" asked Sister Refuge. "That would be messed up."

The nuns change names to symbolize that they are no longer the same people they were before entering the order and taking vows, Sister Refuge said. "I am not living the same [life]."

She said she was not raised in a religious home, but a Catholic friend took her to Mass, and she was baptized at age 19.

Sister Light followed a different path, being raised in a religious home and then meeting many good Christians at the University of Alabama. "They were on fire and in love with Jesus," she said.

However, she still recognized a hunger, which she feels was for the Eucharist. She considered a vocation, but rationalized that she could still help the poor, care for the sick and needy, and do all the things a nun did without joining an order. Finally, she decided it was about more than just the work, she said.

Sister Light urged the students to not be afraid to consider a calling. "Trust that God knows and loves you," she said. "Do not be afraid to take that leap."

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