April 19, 2007

Dear Media Professionals,

Thank you for your recent interest in the lives of women religious. We who are Sisters and Nuns are grateful for the opportunity to share our lifestyle with others and to share the liberating mission of Jesus with all whom we encounter.

As you know, each of us belongs to a particular religious community. I for one am a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan. Who I am as a Sister has everything to do with my community. It is for this reason that I, along with other women religious, identify myself in writing with my congregational initials, IHM. For many people, not just Catholic Christians, these initials help locate a Sister or Nun in time and space, that we are not just “generic nuns”, but rooted in a particular spiritual tradition, area of the country, type of ministry, and so forth.

My request to you is simple: When writing about or in any way identifying a Sister or a Nun, please indicate the religious community to which she belongs as well as her congregational initials. Also, many sisters do use their last names when identifying themselves, and so it would be appropriate to use a Sister or Nun’s full name when she has openly given it.

Here are some examples:

  • Sister Susan Rose Francois, CSJP, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, has a blog called Musings of a Discerning Woman. Sister Susan Rose was recently featured in an article in the Toledo Blade.
  • Sister Julie Vieira, IHM, is a writer for the A Nun’s Life blog, a blog about what it is like to be a Catholic Nun in today’s world. Sister Julie is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in Monroe, Michigan.

I thank you for your attention to this matter. Though it may seem to be a small adjustment in the way that you refer to women religious, it has great significance for us and for many of your readers and listeners. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Sister Julie Vieira, IHM