Sister Mary Catherine

As my forty-third anniversary of profession draws near, I continue to recall my vocation with gratitude, joy, and wonder! How it all began in many ways continues to be a mystery to me, a mystery of God’s grace at work. One huge ingredient of my vocation was my family. Having been born into a good, happy Catholic family a call to religious life was not something unusual but rather was welcomed. My parents gave a wonderful example of going to daily Mass which made a deep impression on me. I realized how important daily contact with the Lord and the love of the Mass was for them. I followed their example, thereby I’m sure, gaining the graces to hear and follow the Lord’s call in my life. My mother’s oldest sister was a Franciscan and her aunt was a cloistered Good Shepherd. I was especially drawn to my great-aunt and the joy which radiated from her, though her cloistered community held no attraction for me.

The Sisters who taught at my school often spoke about religious life and encouraged vocations. In 7th and 8th Grade there was a Vocation Club at school. We prayed together, discussed various orders, and viewed a film about the School Sisters of Notre Dame who taught me for 12 years. At the end of the film were clips of all the other orders in St. Louis (the film was made in their motherhouse in St. Louis.) I still remember seeing our chapel here at Mount Grace with the Sisters in adoration and two Sisters coming to take their place. There was no identification telling who they were but the beauty of the chapel and the Sisters in the pink habit stayed with me. In 8th grade I found them listed in a book on all the religious serving in the U.S. at that time and so I had a name and an address to contact. It was not until I was in my second year in high school that I finally got in touch and that was sparked by the career day at school when that same film I that had seen in the Vocation Club was shown. Seeing again that chapel and the Sisters made me look up the address which I had written down and placed in my dresser drawer. It was still there and I wrote for information.

When I was twelve years old the habit was what attracted me, by the time I wrote to the Sisters at fifteen, it was the adoration. Also, having read the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, I discovered that cloistered Sisters pray for the entire world. Our parish had yearly Forty Hours and each month a special holy hour with exposition for vocations. I loved those times with the Blessed Sacrament exposed and felt a strong desire to spend my life as an adorer. When I received the information from the Sisters I could not read it enough. When I went for my first visit to our convent in Philadelphia, it just seemed like I had found where God wanted me. When I entered shortly after my graduation from high school, and was taken to my private room, there was a picture of the Sacred Heart and one of the Perpetual Help—coming from a Redemptorist parish named Sacred Heart! I felt I was right at home and thanks be to God, he helped me to adjust and to make my home in the Congregation these past four decades and more. I believe his call is still going out and pray that young women will hear that call and find the joy and fulfillment I have found in a life of adoration and prayer for the world.

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