Slight in stature, but large in persona, is a critical member of the newly formed union of five local churches (officially designated as the Prince of Peace Parish): Sr. Christine Plouffe, o.p. Although her chosen vocation is as a sister of the Dominican order, her job as a paid staff associate identifies her as the Director of Initiation/Evangelization.

“[I] welcome in people who want to become Catholic or complete their sacraments of confirmation and (or) Eucharist. I love to be able to help people grow; journey [with them] on their faith journey. [It] helps me; enriches and strengthens my own faith journey. It’s life giving – revitalizes me to help being part of the process.”

Often seen before Mass standing in the vestibule greeting parishioners with a winning smile and a ready hug, her words are believable.

In response to recent inquiry, Sr. Monique Belanger, o.p., the music and choir director of Holy Cross Church, shares, “I am the Provincial Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of the Roman Congregation of the USA province. This is an international order. There are 500 women in the world in this order, 19 in the U.S. I communicate on a regular basis with the sisters. I visit them; visit their ministries and make sure they’re happy with what they’re doing. The ‘o.p.’ after our names stands for ‘Order of Preachers.’ That is our main goal: to be a preacher in whatever capacity you can. When I sit with a sister I ask, ‘Do you feel whatever you do in your day (i.e. visiting the sick) is really preaching for you?’ I consider my music to be my preaching; (preaching) the Word of God through my music.”

Each sister belonging to this order incorporates four elements: prayer (personal and with other sisters), community (dealing with the complexities of living with or nearby other sisters), study (of Scripture, theology, and church related topics), and preaching/ministry (to draw individuals to God).

With an effervescent smile, the spritely 78 year old director of Loaves and Fishes, also Mother Superior of the Dominican Sisters in Sabattus, Sr. Lucille Fournier, o.p., roved throughout the modern sprawling convent showcasing the ministries housed there: a food pantry, a clothes closet, and an ongoing assortment of marketable items. Her relentless creative fundraising, along with the generosity of many volunteers, benefactors, and the Community Free Baptist Church, provide food, clothing, and funds for the needy of the surrounding area.

“I just love what I am doing. I keep saying, ‘I’m the happiest person I know.'”

Diminishing valuable resources that form an integral part of the Catholic infrastructure are these and other sisters. Typically overlooked as a career choice, more appropriately regarded as a vocation, for Catholic women is the pursuit of entering a religious order to serve in various ministerial and administrative capacities. Given the amount of obvious satisfaction with this choice from these three women, this option warrants consideration.

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