19-July-2008 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Youth Day Offers Community Life for Consecrated

SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Though Sister Maria Mori is from Australia and carries out her ministry in her home nation, she says an event like World Youth Day is what really makes her feel at home.

The streets of Sydney are flooded with priests and men and women religious, making the youth event a chance for a very special type of community life. In their clerics and habits, the consecrated men and women stick out from among the sea of youth, as obvious as the iconic Opera House or the Harbor Bridge.

Sister Mori, an Ursuline Missionary of the Sacred Heart, has been a woman religious for four years and is the only Australian-born member of her congregation serving in Australia.

She's also one of only three to have taken her vows in Australia. Sister Mori, 38, is a high school teacher at Emmanuel Catholic College in Success, Perth.

She said participating in World Youth Day is like being in the heart of Catholicism again, Rome. Young vocations to religious life are scarce in Australia, and she acknowledged that she misses being around sisters of her age.

"It's really awesome," Sister Mori affirmed. "I feel like I'm in Rome again. People come up to me in the streets of Sydney and say, ‘You're Australian and you're a religious?' They didn't think religious existed in Australia as they ‘don't see them around.'"

"Just being around other religious and saying, ‘I'm a religious' is awesome," Sister Mori continued. "People have been really cool. Every day I randomly meet religious from other countries and they're so happy that I'm a consecrated religious from Australia; and we always promise to pray for each other. It's beautiful."

Sister Mori reflected on the beginnings of her own call to the consecrated life.

She said that childhood stories her grandmother told her of the witness of the saints made her think, "Oh man, I want to be holy." Though, she added, "I got in trouble a lot as a kid. It's a call to be close to God and to serve others."

"I really wanted to be a missionary," the sister continued. "My dream is to be a missionary overseas, but it seems like God wants me to be a missionary in my own country, which is really, really important."

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