Who would ever think that a young woman trained in business and owning a 1976 Silver Camaro with a burgundy interior would join a Franciscan religious community? I had a great life…good job, dated nice guys, went clubbing on the weekends, went on vacations and yet something was missing. The picture up above was taken of me on top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire circa 1977.
At 19, I was invited to a retreat at our Motherhouse in Pittsburgh, PA by my high-school English teacher, and life changed forever. I continued to work, date and go on retreats. And the more retreats I attended, the more peace I found. Sisters at one of our local convents invited me on picnics and to their place for prayers and dinner, and I saw the simplicity of their lifestyle and their camaraderie was to be admired.
Two years later and after attending more retreats and having monthly contact with the vocation director, I entered the Franciscan community of sisters that taught me for 12 years. It was so inspiring how much they were in love with Jesus. I admired their work with the poor and the deep sense of community that enabled them to live out their vocational life’s call with integrity and trust in God’s providential care. The community sent me to college, permitted me to attain two Masters Degrees, Formation in Spirituality and many other educational and spiritual opportunities. I attended some seminars and workshops with the greatest theologians, psychologists and spiritual directors. When people ask me how I am, I can honestly say, “I am blessed.”
From young people, I seem to always get the question, “Sister, would you make the same decision you made years ago”? And, I always say “YES”. Not that religious life was always easy. Each vocation has its challenges, but deep down, I know God has graced me abundantly to live such a wonderful life.