Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 25, 2020

Sisters' Stories

Sister Giovanna Marie Marcoccia, CSJ

God’s ways are mysterious. I attended St. Vincent de Paul School in Syracuse, New York, from fifth grade through high school. We lived three houses from the convent and school. My brother was going into the Marine Corps during the Korean War. My mother and brother wanted me to be in a Catholic School. My brother took me down the hill to the convent to register. I cried all the way down saying that I didn't want to go to those “black witches.”

In the sixth grade, my teacher was Sister Alice Roberta Benzing. She was “cool.” During sixth grade, I read the life of Father Damien of Molokai, now St. Damien, and the life of a Medical Missionary. I started to think about becoming a sister. We were blessed at St. Vincent’s with a great group of Sisters of St. Joseph. Soon I found myself helping the sisters. Sisters Mary Lois, Mary Herman, Mary Eunice, Katherine and Benedict, to name a few. I forgot about being a sister in high school. During the eleventh grade, I went with a group of girls to St. Joseph Seminary in Troy on March 19 for a Reception Ceremony. Sister Joan Killoran was in that group. I guess I got hooked then.

My mother did not want me to enter. She went to the convent to give Mother Petronilla a “piece of her mind” for encouraging me to be a sister. I was so embarrassed that I waited at home for her return. Three hours later my Mom came home. She said, “If all the nuns are like her you can go.” My mother and Mother Petronilla became great friends!

I decided that I would enter and be the best teacher ever, My sister, Carmela, was the one who the sisters thought would enter, certainly not me! When my classmates heard that I was going to be a sister, they took a bet that I wouldn't last two weeks. I'm still waiting 61 years later to collect my money. God's ways are mysterious.