The Sisters of the Gospel of Life
The Sisters of the Gospel of Life were established by Roseann Reddy and Andrea Fraile in 2000. They were the first new female religious community to be formed in Scotland for over one hundred and fifty years. Here, Sister Roseann explains the origins of the order.
“On 9 March 1997, the late Cardinal Thomas Winning invited any woman facing a crisis pregnancy, or suffering in the aftermath of abortion to come to the Catholic Church for help. He immediately realised he would need someone to establish his Initiative and asked me if I would be willing to do this.
The two great loves of my life had been, and are, the church and the pro-life cause. I was therefore happy to do what I could, never for a minute knowing that only two short years later I would be going to the Cardinal to say that I felt God was calling us to form a new religious community based on John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life).
Following over a year of discernment and preparation, the ‘sisters’new life began on 1 January 2000. Since then we have lived together in community which, although small, has a powerful effect on many people. Even in this day and age there is an incredible witness value in authentic religious life, lived abundantly for the sake of the Kingdom.
We pray together: daily Mass, daily Holy Hour, Prayer of the Church, Rosary; we also have retreat days, on-going formation, etc.
We live in community, sharing the ordinary things of life – our faith, domestic duties, recreation, friends, family and our vision of a world where all human life is respected and protected from conception to natural death.
We work together at the Pro-Life Initiative which is our main, but not exclusive, apostolate. Our work is challenging, exciting, life-giving and vital in these times. If we had fifty more sisters we could keep them all busy!”
The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture.
– Evangelium Vitae 1
We have been sent. For us, being at the service of life is not a boast but rather a duty, born out of our awareness of being “God’s own people, that we may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (cf. 1 Pet 2:9)
– Evangelium Vitae 79
It is the call for a “sincere gift of self” as the fullest way to realise our personal freedom. It also involves making clear all the consequences of this Gospel. These can be summed up as follows: human life, as a gift of God, is sacred and inviolable. For this reason procured abortion and euthanasia are absolutely unacceptable. Not only must human life not be taken, but it must be protected with loving concern. The meaning of life is found in giving and receiving love, and in this light human sexuality and procreation reach their true and full significance. Love also gives meaning to suffering and death; despite the mystery which surrounds them, they can become saving events. Respect for life requires that science and technology should always be at the service of man and his integral development. Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person’s life.
– Evangelium Vitae 81