Friday, July 25, 2014
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Sister Sharon finds her heart

TRAVELERS REST—Poor Clare Sister Sharon Ratteree gives a lot of credit to the nun who prayed for her mother while she was giving birth to her in the former St. Eugene’s Hospital in Dillon.

“I am convinced now that the prayer of that sister was the beginning of God’s call upon my life,” she said in a recent interview.

Sister Sharon professed her solemn vows at the Monastery of St. Clare on June 19, which was also her 58th birthday. Franciscan Father Thomas Hartle presided at the ceremony. He is the religious associate for Poor Clare Nuns of the Holy Name Federation.

Her two brothers and a sister-in law were there to celebrate with her.

She was born in Dillon but lived most of her life in North Carolina, one of three children of the late Bernice and William Ratteree. Both parents were public schoolteachers who raised their children to have a deep love of learning. Sister Sharon received a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and then studied at École Normale de Musique in Paris. She also did graduate work at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and earned a registered nursing degree from the Carolina College of Health Sciences.

“My field was music, and my goals of performance and teaching in higher education were achieved before I was 30,” she said. “I felt empty and began to seek to find my heart again.”

Raised a Presbyterian, she was a teen when she first felt what she calls “the whisper of God” to live a monastic life, but dismissed the idea because she wasn’t Catholic and felt, then, that it would be “hiding from the world.” After she left her career in music, she worked for a nondenominational church and explored the missionary field, but still felt something was missing.

After watching evening Mass on television, Sister Sharon said she suddenly realized the fullness of Christ that came through the Eucharist, and started attending RCIA classes at a church in Charlotte. She became a Catholic in 2006.

She felt a genuine call to religious life but didn’t know whether to enter a contemplative or apostolic order, so she asked the question “What part of the Body of Christ am I?”

While at prayer one day, she heard the voice of God answer: “I want you to be my heart, I want you to be my heart for the world.”

A visit to the Travelers Rest monastery and a month-long Franciscan pilgrimage led to her decision to enter the Order of the Poor Clares six years ago.

Their primary mission is constant prayer for the needs of the Church, the poor and the world. The Travelers Rest sisters live a cloistered life and support themselves by distributing altar breads and producing prayer cards.

“I am grateful to God for the gift of Sister Sharon’s vocation and for her generous response,” said Sister Mary Connor, abbess at the Monastery of St. Clare. “We have already been blessed by her presence among us. I know that her life of prayer will be blessings to our diocese and to our world.”

Sister Sharon said she had to be willing to let go of all her possessions and all she had known before in order to reach this milestone.

“It really is true that when you surrender all, God will bring more than you ever imagined and in a way that you would never expect,” she said.

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Summerton and Manning churches begin a new chapter

MANNING—St. Mary Church in Summerton is becoming a mission and Our Lady of Hope Mission in Manning is becoming a church.

In a decree effective June 15, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone stated that a new territorial parish will be created for Our Lady of Hope Church which encompass Clarendon County — the boundaries currently held by St. Mary.

The decree stated that the change was made “in an effort to ensure the vitality of parish life, with concern for the best stewardship of resources, and the right of the people of God to receive assistance from the Church, especially the Word of God, spiritual sustenance, and the sacraments, it is now deemed necessary to begin a new chapter of the Church’s presence in Clarendon County.”

To determine when or if changes are necessary, the bishop consults with the Presbyteral Council and the pastor/administrator in accordance with canon law.

“This decision is based upon a number of factors, among which are the current allocation of the Catholic faithful in Clarendon County, the decline in the Catholic worshiping community at St. Mary, Summerton, the fostering of unity, the enhancement of collaborative ministry, and the relative proximity of the worship communities and churches” the decree stated.

Clarendon County is located southeast of Columbia and is part of the Midlands Deanery.

Our Lady of Hope was founded in 2002 as a mission of St. Mary. About 200 households are registered, according to its website ( St. Mary has about 15 families registered. The tight-knit community recently celebrated its centennial anniversary. The church was founded in 1914 by Lebanese immigrants.

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Fortnight for Freedom begins June 21 with Mass and procession

In 2012, Pope Benedict spoke about his worry that religious freedom in the United States is being weakened. Two years later, that threat has not abated.
A number of issues from healthcare to immigration continue to undermine and chip away at freedom of religion nationally and globally, and leaders urge everyone to stand up and protect their rights.
The Diocese of Charleston is doing its part by participating in the third annual Fortnight for Freedom, which kicks off June 21 with a 10 a.m. celebration of Mass at St. Mary Church in Greenville, followed by a eucharistic procession led by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone.
The fortnight runs June 21 to July 4, a time when the liturgical calendar celebrates a series of martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power: St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, and Sts. Peter and Paul.
This year’s theme will focus on the freedom to serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with human dignity and the Church’s teaching.
Bishop Guglielmone said they continue to protest the same basic principle, which is that the federal government should not be able to dictate the terms or definition of religious activity.
For example, the health care mandate requires employers to provide for services such as sterilization and contraception that defy Church teaching. The government has ruled that churches are exempt from the mandate, but Bishop Guglielmone said that leaves a lot of church-affiliated organizations on the hook.
“Religious activity isn’t just worship,” he said. “We’re talking about freedom of religion, not freedom of worship.”
He said people are commanded by Jesus and their faith to do all they can to help others, to participate in outreach activities that go hand-in-hand with the Church, such as feeding and clothing the poor, providing medical care, and helping immigrants. Yet none of these agencies of the Church are exempt from the health care directive.
The bishop mentioned that the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision — a religious freedom challenge to the HHS mandate against for-profit businesses — is expected to occur during the fortnight. He said people and parishes should consider hosting events surrounding the announcement of that decision.
Yet the HHS mandate, which is being fought in states across the country, is just one issue that threatens religious freedom.
Some areas of concern include:
s Catholic foster care and adoption services. Many Catholic agencies have been driven out of foster and adoption services because they refuse to place children with same-sex couples, or unmarried couples.
s State immigration laws that infringe on what the Church considers charity and pastoral care.
s Discrimination against small church congregations. In New York, for example, churches cannot rent schools for worship service, but non-religious groups can rent those same schools for a variety of reasons.
The bishop encourages everyone to participate in parish and community activities and, above all, to pray.
“It’s a public consciousness-raising activity,” he said. “We’re hoping to change the hearts of those in control.”
Other events include televised Masses at the Baltimore Basilica on June 21 and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on July 4.

Join the Call to Prayer Facebook page to receive weekly emails on prayer and fasting for religious liberty, or find ways to engage in the Take Action campaign on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website (
You may also find diocesan activities and prayer resources on the U.S. bishops’ website.


New appointments for Fathers Jackson, Narichetti, Babick and Tria

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone announced the following priestly appointments for the Diocese of Charleston:

Father Richard W. Jackson retired as parochial vicar at St. Anthony Church in Florence and St. Louis Church in Dillon and will be a supply priest for the diocese, effective May 29.

Father Jesuprathap Narichetti, returning to the Diocese from India, is appointed parochial vicar at St. Anthony Church in Florence and St. Louis Church in Dillon, effective May 29.

Father Bryan P. Babick, parochial vicar at Christ Our King Church in Mount Pleasant, is appointed administrator at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Folly Beach. effective July 1.

Father Maximino E. Tria Jr., parochial vicar at St. Francis by the Sea Church on Hilton Head Island, is appointed parochial vicar at Christ Our King Church in Mount Pleasant, effective July 1.



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