I always smile when I hear someone complaining that women's religious communities are dying. The Sisters of Charity of New York are a case in point. To listen to some people, one would think they disappeared when they gave up their 19th century black bonnets. Nothing could be more erroneous

On Sunday, I attended a beautiful and touching vespers service in their historic motherhouse chapel on the grounds of the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale. The service focused on the mission of the community to the poor since the 1817 arrival in New York City of sisters who were sent by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton herself from Emmitsburg, Md., where she had gathered her first companions. It became clear to everyone in that chapel that the mission of the Sisters of Charity is ongoing, moving in new directions that address the needs of people living in the second decade of the 21st century. For example, the sisters have a thriving farm and an anti-poverty community outreach called POTS. They continue to play a significant role in education, hospitals and, of course, the New York Foundling, which will celebrate its sesquicentennial in two years

Intrigued? I was. Here's how to learn more. There is a wonderful new bicentennial video on the Sisters of Charity website that features the historic past, the dynamic present, and the very creative future of New York's trail-blazing religious community.  Take a few minutes to view it and visit the rest of the website