You’ve probably heard the good news about the amazing television program The American Bible Challenge, hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy on Game Show Network. When the show debuts tonight for its second season, Catholics around the country will be rooting for a special trio, Team Sisters of Mary from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here’s an overview of what we’ll enjoy tonight excerpted from the Ann Arbor Journal:
Combining their love of scripture with theirof love games, Team Sisters of Mary is vying for a total prize purse of $140,000. The nuns visited Hollywood in January to participate in the show. Tonight’s first episode features Team Sisters of Mary competing with Team Anointed Ink from Texas and Team Preachin’ Divas from California. All told, 18 teams will vye for the top spot and prize mone yfor their specific charity.Team Sisters of Mary will use any winnings to help older members of their order as they advance into retirement.“The American Bible Challenge,” which is hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, tests con-testants’ knowledge of the Bible. In addition to seeking money for charity, appearing on the game show is a way of practicing their mission of New Evangelization. Sr. Maria Suso describes the Sisters of Mary as a new community, founded 16 years ago by Mother Assumpta and three other Sisters. Since then, it has grown to 120 Sisters, most of whom are in their 20s. “We’re a very young community … so we don’t fit a lot of the stereotypes that people have about Sisters,” Sr. Maria Suso said. “And I think that going on the show is kind of a bold move.We want to show the life that Christ brings and(how) there’s a lot of joy in being a Christian and being a Catholic.” Show host Foxworthy said the Sisters of Mary are something to behold. “These nuns are fun, funny and let me tell you, they came to win,” he said. “Viewers are going to really enjoy seeing them in action.” For more information on the Sisters of Mary,see www.sistersofmary.org.
Here’s a little sneak peek at what we’ll enjoy tonight — how can you not be rooting for Team Sisters of Mary?!
Today, I’m honored to share an interview with Team Sisters of Mary – please join us in praying for them as the share the Good News tonight and through their vocations.
Q. Please briefly introduce yourselves.
Sr. Peter Joseph and Sr. Evangeline: Hi! We’re from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, MI. We’re both apostolic novices, preparing to make first vows this summer. As apostolic novices, we get to experience the apostolic life of our community, which for the Sisters of Mary is teaching. We’ve had the chance to observe and even help teach in some of our schools, and to go on other apostolic trips, such as parish missions, retreats, or going to Hollywood! Our normal day revolves around prayers in the morning, noon, and in the evening. Then we have a few classes each day, such as Mariology or Moral Theology, and recreation, where we enjoy one another’s company in sports or other games.
Q: How did you become involved in The American Bible Challenge?
When the opportunity came up for us to participate in The American Bible Challenge, it seemed like a great opportunity to evangelize! An unusual approach, yes—but we see it as a way to take part in the New Evangelization. Although any of the sisters would have been great contestants, Mother Assumpta, the superior of our Community, chose Sr. Maria Suso and us – we all love Scripture, so we were thrilled to go. It was such a shock!
Q: Did you do any special “homework” to prepare for your appearance?
Sr. Peter Joseph: The three of us decided to split the Bible into parts so that we could each focus on only a few sections. I studied the New Testament, especially the Epistles of St. Paul. The other sisters also took great delight in quizzing us throughout our prep time, with all the hardest questions they could think of!
Sr. Evangeline: I concentrated mainly on the Pentateuch and the prophetic books, and made notes of the main points. Mostly, I focused on fitting each of the books into the big picture of Scripture, because that helped me retain it. We are blessed to pray and listen to Scripture every day as part of our monastic life, so that gave us a bonus “study” time.
Q: Although I’m sure you can’t tell us the outcome of your time on the show, I’ll simply ask if you enjoyed the process and what you learned by participating.
The game itself was so much fun, but probably the most enjoyable part of the filming was the people we met. It was inspiring to meet so many people with a deep love for the Bible who live it out by charitable work in their communities. Studying Scripture in a new light also had its rewards. When you hear the Gospel at Mass, the little details don’t stick out; but when you are studying the details, the Gospel at Mass takes on a deeper meaning.
Q: We know that we are all called to the New Evangelization – how can religious sisters appearing on a television game show be a unique way of spreading the good news of the Gospel?
One of our favorite parts of being on the game show was meeting so many people interested in Christ and the Church. Simply by wearing the religious habit, we were able to answer many questions about what Catholics believe, and most importantly, who Christ is and how much He desires their friendship. We’re excited that viewers of the show will be able to see that giving your life to Christ is the source of true joy. The New Evangelization involves even more than what we mean by new; God’s plans are always in the fast track, and it’s fun to see what new ways He opens up for us to spread the Gospel.
Q: I would imagine that this experience could bear some dividends on the vocations front – what would you hope that your appearance on The American Bible Challenge would express to young women who may be praying about a vocation to the religious life?
Young women discerning the call to follow Christ do not usually know what to expect, and it’s easy to be afraid that they will somehow lose their identity in giving all to Him. How encouraging to see that sisters can use their gifts and enjoy life in the service of Christ and His Kingdom!
Also, The American Bible Challenge is seen by people who might otherwise never see a consecrated person. The witness that God comes first in our life is a witness that is relevant to any vocation. Ultimately, each of us, no matter our vocation, finds our identity only in Christ. We hope that young women watching the show will be able to see that giving all to Christ always results in a hundredfold in return – in the joys of community life, prayer, and the apostolate (including the occasional game show).
Q: Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share about being a part of this show?
The New Evangelization is all about spreading the Gospel – and what better way to be confident in spreading the Gospel than by studying it? The experience of preparing for The American Bible Challenge not only deepened our love of Scripture, but also reminded us that it is always relevant for our culture.
It was such a delightful experience to visit Hollywood; we met many people who had a deep desire to know Christ or who had suffering in their lives and they desired us to remember them in our prayers. We were impressed by the courage that led them to ask hard questions and really try to discern what God was asking them to do in their lives. It was clear to us that the whole experience was about more than answering the trivia questions correctly; God wanted us there for a reason known only to Him.
Q: How can our readers learn more about you and your work?
Go to www.sistersofmary.org and sign up for our E-Blasts or newsletter to stay updated on the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist! You can also follow our vocations fan page on Facebook.
Tune in tonight at Thursday, March 21 at 9:00 pm ET/PT on the Game Show Network.