Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletSeptember 16, 2014

Sisters' Stories

Sister Karen Gaube, CSJ


According to Father Anthony Gittens in his book, Called to Be Sent, there are three common elements for becoming a disciple. They are: the call from God or encounter with Jesus; a sense of disturbance over our own unworthiness to be a disciple; and personal transformation through our willingness to be sent forth as a disciple. As I reflected on my own call to become a Sister of St. Joseph, I found that I could identify with these three stages.

God's call to me had been like a whisper for some time. The Sisters who had taught me in grade school and high school (the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet) often encouraged us girls to think about a religious vocation as a Sister. My response was always to ignore or resist the invitation, wanting to be like my other friends, looking forward to going away to college, enjoying a good social life, getting married and having children. Then toward the end of my freshman year in college, God's whispered call through others suddenly became a more distinct invitation from God himself. During a retreat weekend at my college, when I came upon the Ursuline Sisters praying in our college chapel, I began to feel drawn to a life of prayer and service. Suddenly, although, I heard no words, I realized that God himself was guiding me to follow him along a new path.
 
Nevertheless, my reaction was filled with disturbance as I struggled with many questions. Why me? Others of my friends would be much better suited. Who am I to think that God is calling me to this way of life? How can I tell my parents who had sacrificed to send me to this good college when they had four more children coming up behind me? Will I have wasted a year's tuition, board and room if I only completed one year? How can I tell my roommate that I won't be returning next year to be her roommate? How do I go about inquiring to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph who had taught me for twelve years? They were in Binghamton, and I was away in school near New York City. Gradually, my disturbed feelings subsided, and my questions that had filled me with anxiety were rather easily answered.
 
Almost overnight I had moved from being disturbed by this call to a willingness to respond positively, to a "yes" that felt right because I knew that not only was this God's will for me, but, finally, I knew that it was what I wanted, too.
 
Now, more than 50 years after that late April day in l960, my call to discipleship, thanks to God's grace, is one I have never doubted or regretted, once I listened and heard it. There have been peaks and valleys, joys and sorrows, as in every disciple's life. But I can still echo with Isaiah, "Here I am, send me," and with St. Paul, "I am the least of the apostles, but by the grace of God, I am what I am," and still hear Jesus' words so often, "Do not be afraid."