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Consecrated Life

Frequently Asked Questions

A few questions and answers about those living Consecrated Life in the Savannah Diocese
If I think I am called to live a Consecrated Life, how do I start?
Talk with someone who is living Consecrated Life. Your pastor or a sister you know would be a good place to start. That person may direct you to a vocation minister. If you have a spiritual director, discuss the question with him or her. If you do not have a spiritual director yet, this would be a good time to find one.
What are Sisters doing in this diocese?

Many Sisters are involved in organized social ministries, in Augusta, Albany, Columbus, Macon, Savannah and Valdosta. They are engaged in programs for families, for the homeless, the impoverished, and the incarcerated. Many work in the St. Joseph/Candler Health System in all kinds of capacities. Several sisters are involved in educational ministries, both teaching and administration. Sisters minister in parishes, one works as a guardian ad litem, one organizes Rachel’s Vineyard retreats and teaches in a local jail. One sister is the Bishop’s Delegate for Consecrated Life in the diocese.

The Carmelite Sisters in Savannah are an enclosed community. They spend their days in prayer and work within their monastery in Savannah.

What are Brothers doing in this diocese?
Brothers are working in parishes and at Benedictine Military School in Savannah. Brother Robert Sokolowski was the Sacristan at the Cathedral for many years. He is now retired.
What does it mean that a priest is a religious?
Some priests are educated by and ordained for a particular diocese. They are referred to as “diocesan priests” and ordinarily minister within one diocese. Other priests enter a religious community, spend time learning the charism of that community, make vows, and then are ordained. They are usually educated by their religious community for the ministry of priesthood. They are missioned by their communities to serve the needs of the Church, not limited to the needs of a particular diocese.
What happens when religious priests, brothers and sisters retire?
Most religious who are no longer in full-time ministry continue in part-time or volunteer ministry until their health no longer permits this. Religious communities provide for the needs of their elder or disabled members. Ordinarily the person who is ready for full retirement returns to a setting where several retired religious reside. They frequently engage in volunteer ministry until they are no longer able to do so. The USCCB’s Retirement Fund for Religious helps to support the unfunded retirement needs of religious throughout the United States. There is a convent for retired Sisters of Mercy in Savannah.
Do women and men enter religious life from the Savannah diocese?
Yes, each year one or two men and women from this diocese enter religious communities throughout the U.S. They enter active and enclosed communities. Some women enter the Carmelite monastery here in the city of Savannah.
How does someone become a Consecrated Virgin in the World?
Someone who is called to the vocation of Consecrated Virginity recognizes that she has been called to live a life of celibacy for her entire life. She would ordinarily discern with a spiritual director that she has this call to life-long consecration as a virgin. In the Savannah diocese, she would then contact the Delegate for Consecrated Life to discuss whether she could receive the formal consecration of the bishop of the diocese. There is a preparation process for anyone who wishes to receive this consecration. By canon law, this vocation is only open to women.
What does “Delegate for Consecrated Life” mean?
In many dioceses, the bishop appoints a person with knowledge and experience of consecrated life to be a point person for questions and contacts from those living consecrated life and those who are discerning consecrated life. The bishop delegates to this person some responsibilities such as talking with persons who are interested in consecrated life. The delegate gets to know who in the diocese is living consecrated life and represents to the bishop their needs and concerns. In years past, a similar role was known as the “Vicar for Religious.” As the number of persons in consecrated life has expanded beyond those living religious life, the new title “Delegate for Consecrated Life” is being used in some dioceses, including the Diocese of Savannah.

Delegate for Consecrated Life

Sr. Margaret Downing
706-569-0614 or 443-827-5631


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