The heart of our life of ministry is to make known God’s merciful love, particularly among the poor, the sick, and those in need of renewal of faith. Through our commitment to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, we follow the pattern of Christ and His faithful servant St. Francis in preaching by both word and deed. We desire to bring God’s mercy into the world so that all may be reconciled and brought into communion with Him.
As contemplative penitents committed to works of mercy, prayer is our primary ministry. Our life and mission flow from our life of prayer. It is in prayer that we drink freely of the fountain of the Lord’s goodness, foster continuous dialogue with our beloved Savior and Spouse, and grow in the desire to make intercession and reparation for the Body of Christ and for the world. “Through our prayer, we receive God’s heart for the people we encounter and entrust them into His loving hands, asking Him to make our ministry fruitful” (Constitutions 91).
The sisters who live at Heart of Mary Mission House in downtown Steubenville, Ohio, are enabled to serve the poor, the sick and the oppressed, sharing the good news and instilling hope and healing. Our Sisters coordinate a ministry at Samaritan House Thrift Store, a clothing store and emergency food center. We are blessed to serve among the poor, giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, and clothing to the naked, in response to Christ who said, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for Me” (Mt. 25:40). Our sisters strive to reveal the Father’s love and provision to the materially and spiritually poor at Samaritan House, where we offer weekly times of praise and worship and Scripture study.
In addition to this, the sisters also coordinate a catechetical soup kitchen in downtown Steubenville two Saturdays a month, called LAMP ministry. With a team of faithful volunteers, the sisters typically host over 100 people of all ages on these Saturdays. Additionally, each Friday our sisters bring a group of junior high students from a local Catholic school to visit one of the soup kitchens in downtown Steubenville. Many of these students have never served at a soup kitchen before, and through our ministry they have the opportunity to learn to share Christ’s mercy and to build up the dignity of those in need. “Our ministry aims to restore the dignity of those who through poverty, various forms of oppression, or suffering, have lost the sense of their preciousness as being a son or daughter of God” (Constitutions 88).
Visiting the sick and bringing Holy Communion to those suffering in hospitals and nursing homes is one of our treasured weekly ministries. We also find great joy in our annual Christmas caroling at the local hospital and nursing homes. In addition to this, at our Monastery we host an annual Mass and lunch for our local nursing home residents. “Our works of mercy begin by recognizing each person as our brother or sister, loving each one as family, and reverencing each as a child of God” (Constitutions 88).
Following the pattern of Christ and His faithful and humble servant St. Francis of Assisi, we give witness to Christ by word and deed, seeking to share the Gospel with those who may not have heard the Good News and with those in need of renewal in their faith. Our sisters lead parish missions and retreats, speak at various conferences, and offer vocation programs for children and youth. We also serve in campus ministry at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio and at the extension campus in Austria.
Santa Chiara Mission House is located on the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, while Greccio Mission House is at the university’s study abroad campus in Gaming, Austria. Our sisters at both of these mission houses witness to the joy and beauty of consecrated life and serve in the Campus Liturgy and Evangelization Offices. Our sisters offer spiritual direction, Bible study, and residence hall advising, coordinate the Student Evangelization Networking Teams, and oversee various formation and retreat programs. In addition to this, some of our sisters serve with Franciscan University’s Missions of Peace, accompanying students on spring break mission trips to places like Ecuador and Chicago, New York and Honduras.
At Our Lady of Sorrows Motherhouse Monastery in Toronto, Ohio our ministry also includes hospitality. We welcome visitors to the Motherhouse, where anyone may join us for daily Mass and prayer, including morning and evening Holy Hours and the Liturgy of the Hours, praise and worship, intercessory prayer, and the Rosary. This is where we welcome visitors who are discerning a vocation. We also host events at our Motherhouse such as our Open House, Days of Recollection, retreats and other events throughout the year.