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‘Being a Sister isn’t a job; she’s in love’

Sister Jordan Rose professes vows to Sisters of Life at St. Patrick’s Cathedral


The following story appeared in the October 8 Idaho Catholic Register.


By Emily Woodham

Staff Writer


NEW YORK CITY -- While growing up, Jordan Rehder of Cottonwood did not think she was meant to be a Sister, even though there were religious Sisters in her devout family and she grew up in the shadow of the Monastery of St. Gertrude and in a community that has become somewhat a seedbed for Idaho vocations.


However, God had other plans. Today, Jordan Rehder is Sister Jordan Rose of the Beloved Son. After eight years with the Sisters of Life, she professed her perpetual vows with five other Sisters on the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6 at a Mass celebrated by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.


Although born in Washington state, she was baptized at St. Mary’s Parish in Cottonwood. Her parents, Joe and Charlene Rehder, prayed for the well-being of each of their six children every day, including for their vocations. Both her parents had aunts who were Sisters at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood. Still, she didn’t believe religious life was meant for her.


“I had always envisioned myself as a wife and mother, with a deep desire to love in a maternal way,” Sister Jordan Rose said. “When I pictured religious sisters, I envisioned them to be something like the saints in books and stories that were called by God through a lightning bolt experience – or that they simply didn’t want to get married, but wanted to work for the Church.”


Sister Jordan Rose is the oldest of six children, five of whom are still living. A younger sister born with cerebral palsy died when she was 3 and Sister Jordan Rose was 4½. “I had experienced through my sister’s life, and through the love of my parents, that all life is sacred and worth living, no matter what it looks like. The littlest and the weakest among us are to be loved and reverenced,” she said.


When Sister Jordan Rose was 5, her family moved to Twin Falls. It was then that she became devoted to St. Joan of Arc, whom Sister would take as her Confirmation saint. “I loved St. Joan of Arc for her courageous love of God,” she said.


She received First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation at St. Edward the Confessor Parish in Twin Falls. Her family moved back to Washington state just after her Confirmation in 2007.


Her parents talked to her and her siblings about vocations. However, it wasn’t until she went to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France with her family in 2010, that her faith became more open to God’s will for her. “Lourdes was a big moment in my life of faith,” she said. Her family went to Lourdes hoping for healing for one of her younger sisters, who was diagnosed with an incurable syndrome. Although her sister was not healed, the pilgrimage helped her trust God more, she said.


“I mark this pilgrimage as the moment my mind and heart were opened to God’s mysterious Providence. His ways are not our ways, but He never leaves us or abandons us. It brought me to deeper faith and trust in Him, and in His plan, which is much bigger than my own!” she said.


After her family returned from Lourdes, Sister Jordan Rose’s prayer life deepened. She began going to daily Mass a few times each week.


Her experience at Lourdes prepared her heart for World Youth Day with Pope Benedict XVI in Spain in 2011, where she heard God’s call clearly.


“I was floored by the number of young priests and religious sisters, she said. “I had never seen anything like it. On a museum tour during our travels, I en-countered a young Sister who radiated joy. We only exchanged a few words, but as she spoke, my heart realized something: Being a Sister isn’t a job for her; she’s in love!” she said.

Through this encounter, she realized that discerning a call to religious life was all about love. “I could not deny the question, ‘Could this be for me? Could my heart’s desire for love be fulfilled in this way?’ ”


Before that time, she said, she did not equate a call to religious life with a call to relationship. She returned from World Youth Day and began discerning the religious life with a spiritual director.


She graduated from Washington State University with a degree in elementary education in December 2011 and began teaching at a Catholic school. Then in 2013, after considering several communities, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Life in New York, the same order as the Sister she met at World Youth Day.


“As I learned more about this community, I was captivated,” she said. “The truth that life is good, beautiful and a gift has always been written on my heart. When I realized the Sisters of Life lived this truth to its fullness, I saw a way in which I could live the call to love Jesus and receive His love as one consecrated to Him, and follow the call on my heart to love the most vulnerable among us.”


Through prayer, she kept the name Jordan. “The Lord gave it back to me as I prayed about a religious name; the symbolism and significance of the Jordan River in salvation history,” she said.


She also prayed over her title for her name, “ ... of the Beloved Son.”

“It is a reflection of many ways in which the Lord has communicated Himself to me in my life, but I especially feel close to the Blessed Mother in this title. Praying near her at the foot of the Cross, where her heart beats strongest as she stands in solidarity with her Son, she points me (and all the world) to Jesus, to deeper faith in Him, and to His love,” she said.



This year, her mission is to serve at the Visitation Center in New York City, where she will help women facing a crisis pregnancy. Just as Mary went to help her pregnant cousin Elizabeth, the Sisters of Life seek to serve women in need at the Visitation Center, she said. “That’s our primary goal – to bring the love of Christ to the women God brings to our door, or to the other end of a phone call. It has been a tremendous gift to accompany women as they move in faith and courage toward life, freedom and joy for themselves and their children,” she said.


To find out more about the Sisters of Life, go to sistersoflife.org.



 

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