Ann Shields is one evangelist who walks the talk.

She is perhaps best known for her appearances with Ralph Martin on The Choices We Face, a Catholic evangelistic television program that airs weekly in Canada on the Vision network. The program attracts some 700,000 viewers in North America, the Caribbean and the Philippines.

But Shields not only talks about the love of God, she passes it on as superior of the Servants of God’s Love, a small community of Catholic women working in the diocese of Lansing, Mich. The community works in the areas of teaching, nursing, therapy and care of the elderly.

“We see ourselves as servants and leaven, so we go out into a wide variety of jobs,” says Shields. “We want to show the love of God and His truth, mercy and power to change lives.”

Shields was in Toronto recently with Martin and several other representatives of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Renewal Ministries for the Lift Jesus Higher rally, an evangelistic event that attracted more than 3,000 people to the Metro Convention Centre. The speakers focused on the person of the Holy Spirit, in keeping with Pope John Paul II’s declaration of 1998 as the year of the Holy Spirit.

A key component of the Servants of God’s Love’s work in recent years, and one that is of particular interest to pro-lifers, is taking care of infants born to parents who cannot or will not take care of them.

“For the last five years, one of our two houses has been licensed as a foster care home,” said Shields. “We’ve particularly asked for medically fragile babies – babies who have been abused, abandoned, or victims of fetal drug and alcohol syndrome. We care for them until they’re adopted.”

It often takes as long as four years for one of the babies to be adopted. The effort serves as one small, but significant, response to the growing culture of death in North America..

“We have 16 children whom we’ve cared for over the last five years. It’s been an incredible privilege, that’s all I can say. You get more blessed than they do … It’s a lot of work, but it has its rewards, even in this life.”

One of the sisters works full-time in the foster care home, while another works part-time. Shields helps out when she is able, but is occasionally away in other countries assisting with Renewal Ministries’ evangelistic work overseas. Shields is also busy serving as editor of the ministry’s publications and newsletters, and hosts a daily radio program called Food For the Journey, which airs on Mother Angelica’s shortwave station EWTN.

The community is now looking at the possibility of extending its work into care for the elderly through adult foster care, “caring for people who are nearing the end of their lives and have no one,” said Shields. “It’s really going against the culture of death, to uphold the dignity of every individual. We’ll see how God leads us.”

Her sisterhood evolved out of an ecumenical community of women whom she joined after moving to Ann Arbor in 1981. That community disbanded in 1990, but a small group remained together. They eventually decided through discernment that they were being called to form a Catholic sisterhood and in 1992, that came about.

The sisters worked with the bishop of Lansing until 1995, when their constitution was accepted. The community now has canonical status in the diocese.

Shields, 58, is a native of Lewistown, Pa. After moving to Ann Arbor in 1981, she began associating with Martin’s Renewal Ministries in addition to her work within her religious community. In 1993, she joined Renewal Ministries directly.

Shields said that her evangelistic work, despite being “just a little squeak in the noise of the world,” revolves around trying to ask people the questions: “What are you living for? What is the purpose of life?” and then presenting them with the Christian Gospel.

“There a growing hunger and thirst for the message of the Gospel,” she said. “We try to bring life wherever we can.”