We invite readers to send short stories about the ways in which their lives have been personally blessed by the life and work of priests and religious in our diocese.
By Karina Fabian
Every Friday, Sister Marie Corr makes a stand for world peace.
Literally. Sister Corr is a member of Women in Black, an international organization of women who regularly meet in some public place, wearing black of course, to pray and witness for the cause of world peace and justice. Her group meets on the Higgins Avenue Bridge in Missoula.
It’s just one of the many activities that keep her busy since retiring from active ministry in 2001. She also works for social justice through e-mails and letters to national leaders, is a volunteer at St. Patrick Hospital, does some spiritual counseling and is on the national governing board for the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “This group of leaders is composed of incredibly wise women. To be responsible to the mission, our sisters and the people of God has been a rich experience,” she said.
Sister Corr said she’s always admired the BVM Sisters. In fact, she felt the beginning of her call began while learning from the sisters in St. Anthony’s elementary school in Missoula. She entered the order in 1954, where she learned that the primary mission of the order was “to be freed and to help others enjoy the freedom in God’s steadfast love.”
The core value of the order is education, and she began her vocation as a teacher in parish elementary schools in California, Nebraska, Illinois and Butte. When Vatican II came into effect, however, she noticed the children were “getting counter-values from home,” and decided to go into adult spiritual formation to share the “incredible joy, vision and hope Vatican II gave us.”
That ministry took her to Denver, Colo., where she moved to her next calling – counseling. “I found in Denver that so many people with low incomes were turning to parish staff for counseling, but many of us weren’t trained to help them.”
As she got her degree in psychology and counseling, she found herself drawn to helping those who were grieving or experiencing a loss. That led her to a position as a spiritual counselor at St. Patrick Hospital’s Addiction Treatment Program. “It was part of the ‘freedom mission’ (of her order).
To help people to be free to live life beyond addiction and the lure of instant gratification.” Sister Corr worked at St. Patrick’s for 17 years.
Now, although in her retirement, she still works for the “freedom mission,” with her sights on social justice. Women in Black, which was started by Israeli women protesting the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, is more than just standing for world peace; it’s a public prayer for social justice, that people may be free to enjoy God’s steadfast love.
Published in The Montana Catholic, Vol. 21, No 9, October 21, 2005.