September 19, 2018
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Biddeford discernment group helping young women learn more about the life of religious sisters

Community Author: Dave Guthro, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
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BIDDEFORD—“We believe these sessions allow Jesus to touch these young women’s hearts on their journeys of discovery.”

As Sister Elaine Lachance, SCIM, describes the success of a growing initiative in Biddeford, she draws from nearly 60 years of religious life as a member of the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec, who have been active in educating area children since the late 19th century.

Along the way, she has picked up her share of incontrovertible facts, including the motivation behind FIAT.

“The Church and the world need strong, faith-filled women, whether in marriage, religious life, or single life,” she said.

FIAT is a discernment group for high school and college women who want to learn more about religious sisters and who may be discerning this vocation for themselves.

“Fiat” is a Latin word that refers to Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

The goal of FIAT is to help the young women grow in faithful discipleship and personal holiness to be better able to discover their own vocation from the Lord, with a special focus on the call to religious life.

The group meets on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 6- 8 p.m. at St. Joseph Convent on 409 Pool Street in Biddeford. The next meeting is Friday, Sept. 14

“Last year, at the request of two high school juniors, we initiated the sessions,” said Sister Elaine. “These gatherings were so helpful and appreciated by the seven participants that, this year, they asked for two sessions a month, one ‘focus/serious’ session and one social gathering. So that’s what we will be doing!”

The sessions feature interaction with the Sisters, including Sisters of other congregations. The young women who have taken on leadership roles in FIAT continue to meet other high school girls interested in attending the sessions. The group has even started an Instagram page (@fiatmaine) which already has 70 followers.

As the young women converse with the Sisters who impart wisdom gained from traveling down the same road the young women are now, it’s hard to figure which group is enjoying the time more.

“These sessions are truly life-giving and hopeful for everyone,” said Sister Elaine. “We rejoice and give thanks to God for blessing us with such wonderful young ladies. I believe God is still calling people to religious life and I remain hopeful for our future. I don’t know how or when this will happen, but I believe there will always be women that sense this call.”

If you are interested in attending a FIAT session, call (207) 283-9051 or send an email to fiatmaine@gmail.com.