THE POWER OF PRAYER
Sisters of Notre Dame will pray for YOUR needs via Prayer Line
Prayer for a sick child, a family member battling cancer, personal financial concerns, relationship difficulties, the death of a loved-one, a job change, a wedding or safe travel. Whether prayer requests are happy, sad, terrifying, or exciting, the Sisters of Notre Dame are always available to join you in prayer. The power of prayer is available to everyone, and the sisters consider Prayer Line ministry one of the most critical and needed ministries in the world today.
Young and old, of all nationalities and faiths, and even those struggling in their personal faith journey are encouraged to call the SND Prayer Line at (440) 279-1163, day or night, 365 days a year. A sister is there to personally answer calls from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Calls received at other times go to voice mail, and are recorded later that day, in a Book of Intentions. Some people prefer to access the SND Prayer Line via the internet by visiting the SND website at sndchardon.org/prayer-requests. You can be sure all prayer requests are recorded and prayed for by the sisters in the Provincial Center.
The Sisters of Notre Dame Prayer Line began on January 1, 2006. Sister Virginia Reesing, SND, originally proposed the Prayer Line Ministry to the sisters residing in the assisted-living area of the Health Care Center as an opportunity for retired sisters to engage in an active in-house ministry. At the Provincial Center, Sister Mary Roman Ress set up the organizational details and created the forms still used for recording requests.
“Many sisters in assisted-living miss working directly with the public,” explains Sister Virginia. “They miss the social interaction they once enjoyed in active ministry. Our Prayer Line gives them an opportunity to still engage with the outside community. It is a win-win for people in need of prayer and for the sisters.”
Since the SND Prayer Line’s beginning, more than 55,630 requests for prayer have been received. In 2017 alone, 5,042 calls were received, or an average of 420 calls per month. Each year this number continues to grow as more and more people learn about the existence of the Prayer Line.
Sister Mary Sujita, former superior general for the SND congregation, wrote the following words of encouragement to the SND Chardon Province Prayer Line sisters:
“Thank you for your generous and loving hearts and for your prayerful spirit. May you be a great blessing to many. May the Prayer Line become a Lifeline for all those searching for God, for healing, for peace, and for meaning and joy in their life. God bless each one of you, my dear sisters.”
“Some feel called to this ministry,” Sister Catherine Romancik, SND, states softly. The 89-year-old Sister of Notre Dame sits at the desk provided in the specially dedicated “Prayer Line Room,” located near the SND Health Care Center. Some of her time this chilly February afternoon may be spent in prayer, as all the sisters who staff the Prayer Line are encouraged to spend some time on duty praying for the requests people have made. On one wall of this modestly decorated room hangs a very large, wooden rosary, hand-carved from a single piece of wood by Herbert Strahler, the brother of Sisters Mary Doreen and Merita Strahler.
Sister Catherine is one of nine sisters currently involved in the SND Prayer Line Ministry. While many sisters have come, gone and even returned to this ministry through the years, those currently serving are:
Sister Joan Marie Buda
Sister Marian Coughlin
Sister Mary Theresa Gebura
Sister Mary Therese Hennessey
Sister Mary Nanette Herman
Sister Mary Catherine Romancik
Sister Mary Doreen Strahler
Sister Mary Janelle Stracensky
Sister Rose Ann Webb
“I‘m retired, and I don’t have a lot of energy, but I can handle a phone,” describes Sister Catherine playfully. “My training as a hospital chaplain, and 14 years of experience in listening and working with people in crisis situations were good preparation for this kind of ministry.”
“Our Prayer Line sisters express humility at being entrusted with people’s heartfelt concerns.
All the sisters in the community pray for these requests that are methodically posted and updated daily,” Sister Virginia explains enthusiastically.
“We often specifically pray together for the intentions requested; for example, in the daily Mass petitions and in the intercessions of our evening prayer,” adds Sister Catherine. “It is not just an individual ministry, but a ministry of the whole community.”
Sister Catherine explains that sometimes praying can by physically and spiritually demanding. “When you yourself are really sick, you may have trouble praying,” she describes. “It’s amazing that many people who call the Prayer Line are appreciative and thank us so wholeheartedly. We receive calls from all over the United States – usually from people with some connection to the Sisters of Notre Dame. The Prayer Line is publicized in newsletters and parish bulletins.
“Personally, I am most touched by prayer requests from mothers with a baby who is critically ill or may be undergoing a serious surgery to correct a birth problem. I know it’s breaking that mother’s heart,” Sister Catherine reflects sadly.
She continues, “Most of the calls we receive on the Prayer Line are from women, perhaps because women are the caretakers within a family and more active in communicating with family and neighbors. They tend to talk more about personal issues than men. Often, prayer requests are for friends, family members or themselves as they personally battle cancer, or heart disease, or an upcoming surgery.
Suddenly, the Prayer Line phone rings. As Sister Catherine smiles at me and excuses herself, she answers, “Good afternoon. Thank you for calling the Notre Dame Prayer Line. How can we help you…”
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