My Theresian journey for almost 50 years has been my privilege from the beginning to know and love Our Founder, the late Msgr. Elwood Voss and experience his vision for Theresians as a Christian women’s organization for women by women. I am also most grateful to have served my Theresian life with the First Executive Director, Patricia Mullen, then Sister Rose Ann Barmann, OSB and the present Executive Director, Vicki Schmidt, all great leaders who are talented in empowering Theresian women around the world.
At this moment in time...I have a heart full of gratitude for my way of life as a Theresian. It has enhanced every facet of my life. The greatest impact for me in Theresians was post Vatican II when all vocations, single, married and religious were recognized equally. This new outlook gave women the respect and unity to be women in support of women.
The challenges and responsibilities in our respective vocations would make such an impact as we ventured into the 21st Century together. The Theresians excelled and expanded world wide as we experienced the joy of recognizing each other's way of life. I loved Theresians for the education that we received in enriching our own individual spiritual lives. Theresians gave me hope and belief that I could use my giftedness to be the woman that God called me to be.
It was my privilege to serve in many Theresian positions locally, nationally and Internationally. My Theresian life was enhanced with my family who were included and shared in many of my Theresian experiences and travels. A memorable highlight was to be present at the Basilica of St. Therese on October 19, 1997 in Lisieux, France with 38 Theresians when St. Therese was declared a Doctor of the Church. My greatest Joy is to love and serve my God via The Theresian Way.
Agnes, Theresians of the Rockies, Denver, Colorado
I have been in Theresians for many years and I feel it is very rewarding. I have had many God moments that touched my heart, and I am growing in my faith. It enriches my knowledge of St. Therese and how we all are capable of doing God’s work. It is very simple but priceless. I have grown to know my Theresian sisters as family. We share good times and bad, we miss that one sister if she can’t be present. We all are very dedicated and try to help one another. It has given me Holy Ground to go to, and find comfort in my soul. The bible readings and the witnessing from my Theresian Sisters give me hope for the future. It is very worthwhile and I recommend going to Theresians highly. You will find peace within yourself, and will be helping others than need you more than you realize. I’m glad I kept going, because I finally realized that this is my time to be a better Christian and a woman of faith. Thank God for Theresians ... they helped me become who I am in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sheila, Evening Embers Community, Dubuque, IA
What does Theresians mean to me? Let me count the ways! For me, Theresians is about how much I love our patroness, St. Therese. It’s about how she inspires me to practice the Little Way—performing the routine, ordinary stuff involved with family life and a career plus laundry, cooking, household chores, computer work, volunteering at church, the hospital and in the community—and doing all that with joy in my heart and a smile on my face. Theresians is about how I interact with my Ebbtide community of some twenty other women who share the same moral, ethical, and faith values that I do; these “sisters of the heart” encourage me, support me, nurture me and empower me to be the best human being that God intends me to be. It’s about how we grow together spiritually, intellectually and psychologically by infusing the five Theresian dimensions—spirituality, education, community, vocation, ministry—into our lifestyles, and then how we step out side by side, arm in arm, to make a difference in the world.
It’s about learning how to live in the present moment as we age wisely and gracefully and cope with grown children and grandchildren and tend to our elderly parents. Theresians is about the excitement and enthusiasm of sharing what I’ve discovered in this organization with other women who are seeking more of God, more of love, more of humanity. Then clothed with our Christian baptism it’s about serving and leading other women to be priests, prophets and kings in a world that cries out for peace and justice and compassion. And now it’s about reaching out to my Theresian sisters around the world as we unite in a stronger organization to meet the needs of women across the globe with truth and love and faith. And that’s just the beginning of what Theresians means to me!
Rebecca, Ebbtide Community, Sugar Land, Texas
I believe it was not luck that brought me to Theresians, but rather it was my relationship with friends who were Theresians, and seeing they had something in their lives that I was missing. Now I feel it as a true privilege to be part of this beautiful, global group of women, who really are connected to each other, through prayers, their care, support and love of each other, and their willingness to grow together in their faith in a very special way.
Sharon, Rosewood Community, Scottsdale, AZ
Love builds a Christian. Thank you, Theresian sisters, for helping build me – and for involving me in construction around the world.
Judy, Theresians VII Community, Houston, TX
Over the past 20 years, my Theresian sisters in my own community and across the world have truly become my “family of choice.” We support one another in prayer, friendship, fun, joy and heartache, all in the loving embrace of God and one another.
Claire, Espiritu Community, Houston, TX
I was one of the founding members of Theresian World Ministry in 1983, of the KNUST Catholic Chaplaincy. I was the youngest in the group and the only unmarried lady, besides the reverend sisters, before the group was charted. The community was vibrant and its activities, very interesting. In July 1984, I had my wedding and sister Theresians were there to fully support me. In 1987 my family travelled outside, but even there, I kept my membership. We came back in 1992, and I continued to be active in the community. From the late 1990's to date, I have served my community as the Moderator, President and now the representative on the International Board.
As a result of my involvement in Theresians, I have come to appreciate, and I have been involved much more in issues affecting women. Being a Theresian has enhanced my leadership skills. All these are as a result of living our Five Dimensions, and this goes to reinforce a remark once made by the Metropolitan Archbishop of our diocese, that the difference between the other women groups in the church and Theresians is the Five Dimensions we live by.
Getting the opportunity to serve as a Board Member as well as to attend an International Conference is one of the most significant impacts the organization has had on me. Firstly, the global nature of the association has allowed me to meet and work with many wonderful women around the globe. Sisters on the Board are caring, warm and very supportive. Your support when my mum passed on touched my heart indeed. Thank you and God bless you.
The uniqueness of the spirituality each member brings to our meeting is worth mentioning. My first experience at an International Conference was wonderful. The warmth, the commitment of all the beautiful women I met there encouraged me, and I knew I was at the right place. I remember coming back to Kumasi and encouraging sisters in my community to be more committed since being a Theresian is unique.
Cecilia, KNUST Community, Kumasi, Ghana
Theresians… to me
Being a Theresian is now a 16-year adventure for me. In that 16 years, I have had the privilege to deepen my understanding of our motto: Women in support of women… Reaching out with Gospel values. The simple path to that clarity came when I mentored a new community.
In doing so, I became aware of the remarkable opportunity that is ours to grow exponentially by embracing that motto. I have become acutely aware of the needs of women in the twenty-first century. I have also become dedicated to communicating that message wherever I am. In the past eight years, I have had the privilege to serve in a leadership role in this organization... that has called me to Dream Big. . .(as I have asked all of us to do). . . to observe the wonders of the activities of women in the nine countries in which we have communities. The Gospel message is a living witness carried in the minds and hearts of Theresian women in cities, country sides, islands, and continents beyond North America.
In these years, we have become one entity, combining the communities from nine different countries. By doing so, we have been able to promote an understanding of The Partnership of Equals. We have begun to realize that no one stands in front, no one stands behind, no one stands above and no one stands below. We stand together. . .dealing with the reality that confronts each of us wherever we are. The power of this partnership is the understanding that "no one walks alone, the journey makes us one." That has sustained me as I have had the privilege to be among Theresians in the United States, Thailand, Ghana and the Philippines as well as the international community that the Governing Board has become.
My life is forever enriched by these experiences. In Theresians, I have found committed communities who seek to embody the Five Dimensions that have defined us for so long: Community, Spirituality, Education, Vocation and Ministry. May we continue to grow in the power of spreading the Good News that we offer to women. . . each and every one of us. . .each and every day.
Ann Murphy, Phoenix, Arizona
MY THERESIAN JOURNEY
BIRTHING - with the help of JULIET, my mother as the regional representative of the Philippines in 1996, I was introduced to Theresians by accompanying her to Theresian World Ministry board meetings.
NURTURING -with the help of EVELYN - my "tour guide" when I started my spiritual journey.
DIRECTING -with the help of VICKI - my director, friend, and constant inspiration to keep on searching and developing my gifts and talents.
PRACTICING - testing the empowerment and leadership learned by accepting positions on the board as secretary, second member at large, first member at large and by emceeing the International Conference in Bangkok.
LEARNING - with the help of ANNE - my idol, my first Theresian International President who taught me her ageless energy and abilities; feats I could only hope to emulate.
LIVING - The Theresian way - Theresians is my way of life that keeps me in communion with myself, my family, my friends, my community, my country, my world, my God.
Mary Anne, Philippines
WORDS DO NOT EXPRESS
Words fall short of expressing how wonderful it is to be a Theresian. Since I found out about Saint Thèrése, my way of life has changed just like my way of doing things. Being a part of Theresians has strengthened my faith, brought Jesus and other people, known or unknown, more close to me, helping me to live the little way of St. Thèrése, with amazing experiences of hope, love and giving, looking more deeply and differently at everyday or sudden happenings. And above all, valuing prayer and contemplation of her holy face which inspires me to be more and more a better person.
Her presence is really true and constant in everything in my day-to-day life, always smiling and encouraging me to move forward with joy and sharing--beyond the small path, the prayers and the roses that constantly come to my hands before the countless thanks and blessings that we receive due to her intercession with Jesus.
For all that, I can say with certainty that it is a pleasure and a gift to be a Theresian.
Tania, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil