Sisters of Life set sights on Denver

Order announces plans to evangelize on college campuses

The New York-based Sisters of Life announced plans on the Feast of the Annunciation to bring their mission work to Denver this summer.

Four sisters will be sent to witness to the dignity of life and join the Archdiocese of Denver’s mission for the new evangelization. It will be the order’s first mission in the Western United States.

“We are so pleased and excited with this expansion of mission,” Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., superior general of the order, told the Denver Catholic. “While there is great vibrancy within the Church of Denver, we believe that we are prepared to offer the unique gift of being a visible witness to the Church’s proclamation of the dignity and mystery of every human life. Please join us in praying in advance for the fruitfulness of this new apostolic expansion.”

The sisters will establish a home in the Denver-area before beginning mission work on college campuses. In August, the sisters will work to evangelize young adults and students attending area universities including the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

“We desire to create a spiritual home for the culture of life, and as a vital part of this work to provide concrete options of loving support for any college-aged woman who finds herself pregnant and in crisis,” Mother Donovan said.

The order’s announcement came at the same time the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo announced plans to arrive in Broomfield in August to begin a mission.

“The arrival of two new religious orders to the Archdiocese of Denver during the Year for Consecrated Life is a great blessing for the faithful of northern Colorado,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila said. “It is evident that God has a clear plan for these two young orders of sisters here in the archdiocese, and we are more than willing to assist them in any way.”

The archbishop dedicated the religious communities to Mary.

“I give thanks in a special way to Our mother Mary for bringing these two vibrant communities to the archdiocese,” he said. “I place both communities in her hands and commend them to her protection and guidance.”

The Sisters of Life will serve the most vulnerable or those in need of spiritual support and encourage a return to the Lord’s mercy, Mother Donovan said.

Sisters of Life with ABA 1

Newly-professed Sisters of Life and Mother Agnes Donovan pose with Archbishop Samuel Aquila in 2013. Photo provided

The Sisters of Life, founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor, is a contemplative and apostolic religious community of women with convents and mission centers in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Ontario, Canada. The nuns—recognizable by their blue and white habits—take traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and an additional vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of life.

In July 2014, two Denver women shared their call to religious life and joined the order. Kate Sweeney, previously program director of ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women), and Teri Tolpa, an Augustine Institute graduate, began formation at the order’s convent in New York City in September.

While the names of the sisters coming to Denver have yet to be announced, Mother Agnes said the nuns are excited about expanding to the city where St. John Paul II proclaimed the new evangelization.

“Many of our sisters were actually present at World Youth Day 1993 in Denver and heard Pope John Paul II speak those words at the closing Mass at Cherry Creek State Park, which still burn in their hearts now as mature religious,” she said.

The pope spoke of the liberating message of the Gospel and the mission to proclaim it to the ends of the earth—a message that’s foundational to the order’s charism to educate others on the unique and unrepeatable gift of life.

While prayer is the sisters’ first mission, Mother Donovan said a calling to serve in Denver became clear over the last few months.

“As a community, we have been discerning and planning for a new foundation for the past couple of years,” she said. “Within the last few months, entrusting our deliberations to the Holy Spirit and in conversation with Archbishop (Samuel) Aquila, the Church of Denver emerged as the site of this foundation.”

Mother Donovan said she plans to visit the sisters as they begin in Denver.

“We look forward to coming to know more deeply the city and the Archdiocese of Denver,” she said.

Learn more about the Sisters of Life.

Nuns of the Sisters of Life lead a retreat for young women. Four sisters will establish a home in the Denver area this summer.

Nuns of the Sisters of Life lead a retreat for young women. Photo provided



COMING UP: Colorado bishops issue letter on the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life Congressional policies

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We, the Catholic bishops of Colorado, urge Congressional Representatives to support the Hyde Amendment and the Walden Amendment. We also ask the Faithful to sign The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) petition to lawmakers encouraging them to preserve the Hyde Amendment, which can be accessed at:, and to contact their Congressmen and women to support the Hyde and Walden amendments.

The House Appropriations Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee recently passed a spending bill that strips protections for pre-born children, healthcare providers,and American taxpayers by excluding pro-life provisions, including the Hyde and Weldon amendments.

The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion in most cases, except for rape and incest, has received bipartisan support since its inception in 1976 – including by pro-abortion administrations. Hyde is critical in saving lives. The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that approximately 60,000 pre-born babies are saved every year because of the Hyde Amendment.[1] This is the first time in 40 years that the Hyde Amendment was not included in the annual appropriations bill[2] and failure to include pro-life amendments will only further increase divisions in our country.

The Weldon Amendment prevents any federal programs, agencies, and state and local governments from discriminating against health care practitioners and institutions that do not provide abortion services. It ensures that pro-life individuals and organizations can enter the health care profession without fearing that the government will force them to perform a procedure that violates their well-founded convictions. It has also received bipartisan support and was added to the appropriations bill every year since it was first enacted in 2005. [3]

Congress’ recent actions endanger the lives of pre-born children and infringe on the rights of millions of Americans who do not wish to participate in the moral evil of abortion. A recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions[4] and a 2019 Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans think abortion should either be illegal or only legal in a few circumstances.[5]

The government should neither use taxpayer funds for the killing of pre-born children nor compel medical practitioners and institutions to violate their well-founded convictions. Congress must uphold these long-standing, common-sense bipartisan policies that promote a culture of life in our nation.

Human reason and science affirm that human life begins at conception. The Church objects to abortion on the moral principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with respect due to every human person. There has never been and never will be a legitimate need to abort a baby in the womb.

It is critical that Congress continue its long-history of supporting policies such as the Hyde and Walden amendments, and that all Colorado Catholics and people of good will make their voice heard in supporting these life-affirming policies.

Sign the petition to Congress here:

Contact your Congressional Representatives here:

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo

Most Reverend James R. Golka
Bishop of Colorado Springs

Most Reverend Jorge Rodriguez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver