Saturday, August 06, 2005

Nuns' Ministry To Circus Workers

I had no idea there were Catholic nuns' who minister to the circus workers and travel with the circus. The Houston chronicle reported:

"I felt something super special, something very special for me when I received the host," said Dominguez, a performer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Her tears were for her mother and her family who could not share her spiritual moment deep inside Reliant Stadium.

"Always I saw the pictures of my mom making First Communion, and I wanted to do it, too," Dominguez said.

But like circus performers around the world, Dominguez lives on the road and works long hours on weekends, leaving little time for church services or religious instruction.

That's why Sisters Dorothy Fabritze and Bernard Overkamp live on the road and work diligently to bring the touch of God to the "Greatest Show on Earth."

But the two Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus do more than spread the word of God. They're also part of the circus: Sister Fabritze opens and closes the curtains during the two-hour shows; Sister Overkamp tends to the performers' wardrobes.

When they're not on circus duty, they spend hours teaching religious-instruction classes for Catholics and non-Catholics, as well as counseling and listening to the problems and joys of the circus workers.

"Our theory is that we need to be the living, breathing presence of Jesus Christ among these people all the time," said Sister Fabritze, 57. That means the sister act trucks across the nation hauling a trailer they call home. They converted one bedroom into a small chapel, and they sleep on bunk beds in the other.


The report states:
  1. The ministry to circuses in the U.S. Catholic Church began in 1929.

  2. Five nuns travel full-time with circuses.

  3. About 100 priests throughout the country minister to circuses and carnivals when they arrive in their cities.

  4. An estimated 50 to 60 circuses and 300 to 400 carnivals traveling across the United States employ about 300,000 people, of which about 40 percent are Catholic.

This is very cool.



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