Sisters Dorothy Fabritze, Bernard Overkamp and Mary Seibert each spent some time traveling among Circus Communities since 1990. As the Director of SPEC, Show People’s Evangelization of Catechists, Sr. Dorothy spent the most years in this ministry – 15 – traveling across the country connecting with circus families in imitation of the example of St. Paul who traveled from place to place in order to “create a parish life” among God’s people.
Through the provision of masses and shared prayer experiences, Sister Dorothy’s mission identified members of the circus communities who wished to become lay catechists. She then supported these lay leaders by creating religious education programs, conducting Bible studies, and networking with local parishes to help make connections that break the social isolation these communities currently experience. Ultimately, she focused on deepening the community’s prayer life. This in turn was the foundation for the way the circus people live out their vocation in the entertainment industry; Sister Dorothy gave these communities the spiritual tools they needed to become the self-empowered lay leaders and catechists they are now.
Today, Sr. Dorothy’s role has evolved into a remote partnership with circus lay leaders who enjoy her ongoing relationship and guidance. Sister Dorothy maintains her connections through email, Skype and perhaps, eventually, a web community. This support is proving invaluable to many circus families and individuals who, as entertainers, have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Listen to Sr. Dorothy tell her vocation story – from PNG to Circus Sister!
- Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
Sisters Dorothy Fabritze, MSC and Bernard Overkamp, MSC are affectionately known as our Circus Sisters. View the video below to understand their mission.
This Spanish SPEC video was filmed in Pittsburgh, PA on November 4, 2016 by Univision (Spanish TV):