Verbum Dei sisters visit diocese

Sr. Sara Dawn and Sr. Leticia Lopez of Verbum Dei recently visited the diocese of Saskatoon. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski)

Bishop Mark Hagemoen welcomes Verbum Dei representatives 

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Two consecrated women from the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity recently spent a week in Saskatoon at the invitation of Bishop Mark Hagemoen, visiting parishes, local faith groups and ministries, and meeting with youth.

Goals of the missionary fraternity are to live a dynamic life of contemplation of the Word of God, and active work and ministry to transform disciples and society into the image of God’s kingdom.

“We are discerning whether God may be calling Verbum Dei to be part of our diocese,” says Bishop Mark Hagemoen, who first met a member of the Verbum Dei community last year while attending a conference in Rome. “I became quite intrigued by their life and their work.”

Sr. Leticia Lopez (originally from Mexico and presently serving in Singapore) and Sr. Sara Dawn (originally from the United Kingdom and presently serving in San Francisco) spent a week in Saskatoon at the bishop’s invitation. The two Verbum Dei sisters spoke at three Saskatoon parishes April 7, 2019: St. Anne, the Cathedral of the Holy Family, and St. Mary’s Hispanic Catholic community.

Sr. Sara Dawn (left) and Sr. Leticia Lopez of Verbum Dei spoke at St. Anne Parish in Saskatoon April 7, 2019. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski)

Verbum Dei – which is Latin for “Word of God” – is a pontifically-approved Catholic missionary community which includes consecrated religious women (sisters), consecrated religious men (brothers and priests), and associated married couples.

Rooted in prayer and grounded in scripture and theological training, the community is both contemplative and active, explained the two Verbum Dei sisters during their Saskatoon visit.

“We pray with the word of God, and we also preach the word of God, and help people to have a closer encounter with God,” Sr. Leticia said in a brief presentation at St. Anne parish.

She described how members of Verbum Dei dedicate two hours of daily prayer and one morning each week to the word of God, as well as spending one month of the year in silent retreat.

“So a lot of what we do in our active life comes very much from this daily personal encounter with Lord through God’s Word and through the sacraments as well. We share this in our work, and with other people through our Apostolate.”

The work of Verbum Dei in 32 countries around the world includes offering retreat ministry for all ages and levels, scripture-based prayer groups, Verbum Dei spiritual exercises, lay leadership formation, lay preaching form-ation and workshops, pastoral care for individuals and families, spiritual accompaniment, theo-logical teaching, and university campus ministry.

Living in Singapore for some 15 years, Sr. Leticia teaches theology to seminarians, reli-gious, and laity.

Sr. Sara Dawn is primarily involved in university campus ministry in San Francisco. She described the history of the young missionary community of Verbum Dei, which started in 1963 on Mallorca, a small island off the coast of Spain.

The Verbum Dei founder was a young priest challenged to offer something to young adults – in turn, young women he worked with longed to share the gospel with others. “They wanted to be able to do the same: they wanted to be able to lead retreats, and bring people to God as well.”

Sr. Sara expressed thanks to Bishop Hagemoen and the diocese of Saskatoon for the warm welcome. “We are really happy to be here,” she said.

At this time, Verbum Dei does not have a presence in Canada. Bishop Hagemoen said he is hopeful that the recent visit will assist in a discernment – likely lasting at least a year – about a possible relationship between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon and Dei Verbum.

For more information about Verbum Dei, see the website

Sr. Sara Dawn addresses youth at a FacetoFace / Diocese of Saskatoon “E-3” event at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Saskatoon. (Photo by Tim Yaworski)