March 23, 2017
The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is pleased to support National Catholic Sisters Week (NCSW), an annual celebration that takes place from March 8-14 created to honor Catholic sisters. We are devoted to sharing the important work taking place by Catholic sisters throughout the nation and are lifting up their voices by sharing Sister Stories throughout the month of March. This week we are sharing a profile of Sister Evelyn Flowers, CSA.
Sister Evelyn Flowers, CSA first experienced an attraction to religious life at the age of nine. “I grew up in Broadview Heights and we had one Catholic church in the area, the Church of the Assumption. I went to catechism class there and I loved my teacher, her whole demeanor exuded kindness and gentleness, and I wanted to be like that,” Sister Evelyn said. “My mother eventually shared this with her one day and I was so embarrassed,” she added.
In conversation with Sister Evelyn, it is clear that she exudes the kindness and gentle spirit she once admired in her teacher, though these are just two of her many qualities that stand out. Sister Evelyn serves as the coordinator of environment concerns for the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine (CSA). Her role is to educate others about caring for the earth and the importance of environmental consciousness. She has also served on the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland’s Board of Directors for the past six years and has guided the Supporting Women Religious program area as an ad-hoc committee member.
“Though I had a few spiritual nudges when I was young, I didn’t really explore anything until I was about 21 years old and I started visiting various congregations,” said Sister Evelyn. “I was quite taken with the CSAs, they appeared to me to be somewhat forward thinking and I was very impressed by that,” she added.
Sister Evelyn joined the CSA community when she was 24 years old. After obtaining her college degree from Notre Dame College, she entered the field of education, teaching music and Spanish classes at St. Augustine Academy. From there, her ministry varied over the years from caring for orphaned children, to serving as an elementary school music director, and providing music therapy for disadvantaged girls. She also received her Masters degree in music education and music therapy at Cleveland State and was elected into two terms of leadership for the CSA community, serving for eight years.
When asked if she had any advice to offer a young person discerning their future she offered that it all comes from the practice of developing ones inward world. “I would say, first of all, that you should go and sit some place for a half hour with your mouth shut and listen to God,” she said. “The world is so full of noise these days it’s a wonder that any of us can think beyond our noses. It’s crucial that we listen and question, ‘who am I’ and ‘what am I doing here,’ and think deeply about these things,” she added.
Sister Evelyn expressed that the she believes the future of the Church and of ministry depends on the connection people feel not only to their faith but to mission. “It’s evident to me that religious life as we know it, that is, formal groups of men and women living under one spiritual roof performing the same type of ministry, may be phasing out,” she commented. “Nowadays we need to be mission oriented within our own society, with all the demands of daily life, lay people and in particular young adults, have to be excited about the mission. They have to be excited enough to want to commit their life to it.”