In honesty, I must say that I did not want to change my life to enter religious life in long-ago 1959. I was very happy with everything that I shared with family, friends, my job, the church and my social activities. It was especially difficult to leave sweet and loving very young nieces and nephews – and my 1957 pink Pontiac too! But I somehow knew that it was what our Lord wanted me to do, so despite protests from parents, off I went.
None of us, in whatever walk of life, can ever begin to imagine how our lives will evolve day by day and year by year. These are the surprises of the Lord for us, and my life has been replete with these surprises. I have said many times that He takes me to places where I don’t want to go. But every step on the journey to those places has been filled with His grace.
I received the opportunity to enter the deeper life of monastic prayer and a closer union with God. I was given the grace of a religious family of beautiful Sisters. My vision and scope were broadened by higher education and degrees from DuquesneUniversity [Pittsburgh] and the University of Notre Dame. I taught school in parishes from Chicago to the East coast, and I enjoyed the children and appreciated the different personality of each church and area of the country. I had the advantage of serving the Province in various other ministries. I have traveled extensively for the Province and the Order in the Middle East and in South America and Europe, where I met and worked with our wonderful Basilian Sisters there. I have been to Rome so many times I could be a tour guide. For the past 16 years I have been especially honored to be the secretary in the Office of the Archbishop.
Although at first I was reluctant to join, and although I came to the Sisters of St. Basil with no understanding of what it would be like, I know that in seeking what God wanted for me, I have had the best of what this earthly life offers. It is impossible for anyone anywhere to escape the sad times and challenges, but He lovingly provides the strength to everyone to overcome these. He also sends the people and circumstances that bring us the gifts of His goodness, joy and laughter, and I am likewise thankful to Him for every one of these many happy wonders as well.
It is even a blessing for me to realize and to be aware with the greatest gratitude of how much I have been blessed. When I finally meet Jesus face to face with that hundred-fold that was promised to those who follow Him, I sometimes think He might say, “What hundred-fold? You received more than a million-fold during your life on earth!”
Though the life of every Basilian Sister is unique, I truly believe that what I have written here could, with individual variations of the particulars, be the story of each — although I don’t know of anyone else who gave up a prized 1957 pink Pontiac!