Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 27, 2020

Sisters' Stories

Sister Peg Keddell, CSJ

When I was in kindergarten, the Sister who taught us at the Catholic school I attended asked the girls in the class to raise their hands if they wanted to be Sisters when they grew up. I was one of the half of the girls who raised their hands.

Through my grade school years, I thought now and then of being a Sister. In eighth grade a friend and I wrote to a Daughter of Charity who was a vocation director. After eighth grade, my classmates and I went to the public high school.

As sophomores, my friend and I went to Boston, Massachusetts to visit the vocation director to whom we had written. I remember the interview I had with her. She told me that "I had a capacity for depth". I wondered what that meant. Though she recommended that I go to a Catholic school in a nearby city, I chose not to transfer there. Instead, I graduated from the public high school and went to Oswego State Teacher's College.

That Easter, when I was home on break, the vocation director visited me at my home and asked me what I was doing about my vocation. I took it as a sign that I should seriously consider entering the convent.

When I returned to college, I went to the shore of Lake Ontario and prayed about what I should do. I wrote a poem called "I am Just a Follower." (See below.) I spoke to a priest who was the Newman Director and asked him what I should do if I wanted to enter the convent. The priest directed me to write to different communities and to visit them. I contacted four communities and, after selecting two of them, I asked a special Sister how I could decide between the two. She wisely said: "Think about the pros and cons of each community, pray about it and to pick a day to decide."

I did follow those directions and on the following July 25 (what I call my decision day), I decided to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The community accepted my request to enter and I entered the following September. (NB I added the second half of the third verse in 2014 as I celebrated my Golden Jubilee!)

I Am Just a Follower                        

I am just a follower.
I've followed all my life.
I follow in the footsteps
of a man they call the Christ.      
I follow where He beckons,                        
each and every day.                           
I follow even blindly                      
when I do not see the way.

For He is ever with me.
Indeed, He told me so.
From the depths of my mere being,
His call came long ago.
“Come, follow me,” I heard Him say,
Although the way be hard.
Come, follow me and all you see<
Just do for my regard.                   

For that's the way to peace and joy, 
along the stony hill, 
ever upward, ever on, 
to do My Holy Will."
And so I keep on climbing
and trusting Jesus, too.
One day, I'll see Him face to face,
when the journey's through.

© 2014 Sister Peg Keddell, CSJ