By Dana Hinton
We are the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. We are the community to which Paula Merrill, SCN, belonged. As you probably know, in late August our Sister Paula and her companion in community and ministry, Sister Margaret Held, a School Sister of St. Francis, were murdered in their home.
Sister Paula and Sister Margaret lived in Durant, Mississippi, quietly serving a greatly underserved population as nurse practitioners at a small clinic and living in the community as good neighbors, baking bread to give away, sharing meals, singing in the choir and visiting their patients in their homes when they needed extra care. Paula lived our SCN mission wholeheartedly letting our motto, “the love of Christ impels us” guide her day by day.
Sister Paula’s death was sudden and unusual. Her quiet, dedicated, loving way of living the SCN charism and mission, however, was not unusual. She lived like so many SCNs and Associates who use their expertise, their love and their talents to make real the reign of God that Jesus talks about in the Gospel.
SCNs just like Sister Paula can be found throughout the United States and all around the world, serving in ministries of education, healthcare, and social services. They live lives of quiet hope and with the deep joy that comes from their relationship with the God whose people they love and serve – in the slums of Delhi, walking the halls of the hospice for AIDS patients in Botswana, among the elderly living in poverty in Belize City, with differently-abled children in Nepal, among immigrants in Louisville, KY – just to name a few examples.
We strive to live out our Mission and Vision Statement each day:
Mission: The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are an international Congregation in a multicultural world. Impelled by the love of Christ, in the tradition of Vincent de Paul and the pioneer spirit of Catherine Spalding, Sisters and Associates are committed to work for justice in solidarity with oppressed peoples, especially the economically poor and women, and to care for the earth. They risk their lives and resources, both personally and corporately, as they engage in diverse ministries in carrying out this mission.
Vision: The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth promote the dignity and equality of women and other oppressed people in Church and in society.
If you are interested in learning more about religious life and the SCN Community, we encourage you to visit: scnfamily.org. You can contact our vocations office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-331-4516.