Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletNovember 24, 2017

Sisters' Stories

Sister Marguerite Edward Donovan, CSJ


How do you know if you have a vocation to the religious life?

 There is no sure-proof way to know. However, you may well have an uncommon dissatisfaction with the material trappings of life and find yourself saying, “There has to be more to life than this.” Indeed, there is!
 
In my case, as a product of the Catholic school system for most of my life, I regularly heard encouragement to think about being a sister from the sisters who taught me. Today, we might call their approach “a bit much.” But in the 1940s, such urging was an accepted part of life in a Catholic school environment. As I look back on it, those sisters certainly planted a seed for me to consider.
 
During my high school and college years, the feeling that I was somehow special to God never left me. At times I did not want to listen to or hear that feeling because boys were more interesting to me. Also during these years, I saw the loneliness my mother experienced when my only brother left for the seminary to become a priest. My parents were proud, but they missed him too. If I left home to become a sister, there would be no grandchildren for them. That was a point of much struggle for me.
 
During the summer following my freshman year in college, I said “yes” to God in my heart, but it took me three years to work up the courage to break the news to my parents who were surprised because I seemed to be having such a good time dating. That same surprise surfaced when I told my classmates, and I confess to secret pride in not having been labeled the pious “sister type.”
 
As I look back over my years as a Sister of St. Joseph, I am amazed at how I have grown and developed as a person and as a woman in the Church. The community has stretched and challenged me. At times I found it hard, very hard. My first year of teaching was especially messy. But I see how faithful God has been in giving me the strength and support of good sister companions to live in love day to day. Learning to see God in each person, circumstance and creation, even when the view is blurry, continues to sustain me. These are God’s ways of turning the water of my love into wine.
 
I find my early elder years the best yet as I enjoy the shared wisdom of my sister companions and our life in community. I have also learned to take seriously God’s unconditional love. How privileged we are to be called children of God!
 
May you feel peace in your heart as you continue to discern your answer to the call you feel from God. To God a thousand years are but a moment, so take your time and trust God to be there with you each step of the way.