By Sr. Mary Maximilian, C.K.
I’ve always wanted to be a sister. As a bright-eyed second-grader at St. Mary School in downtown Lincoln, I remember my teacher telling me she was married to Jesus. Her joy, love for Jesus and enthusiastic teaching captivated me. I wanted to be just like her – a Sister and a teacher.
My family provided a strong foundation and our Catholic faith was important, as evidenced by Mass on Sundays, an occasional family rosary, TV-less Lents, and my parents’ involvement in our parish and school. As a fifth-grader, I was blessed again to have a School Sister of Christ the King for a teacher and once more longed to wear blue just like she did.
Throughout high school, I was involved in a plethora of activities and my faith became more and more a significant part of my life. It was something I chose and so I became involved in many different youth activities that the Diocese of Lincoln provided including retreats, canoe trips and service projects.
As a junior at Pius X High School, my religion teacher, a priest, brought the mysteries of the faith to an understandable level without watering them down. Father also showed us how to have fun in a Christ-centered way with holy hours followed by ice cream and a game of Ultimate Frisbee.
The summer after my junior year, I went to Rome for World Youth Day during the great Jubilee. As I walked into St. Peter’s square on a bright August morning, I was struck by the columns reaching out from the Basilica and felt the warm arms of Holy Mother Church embracing me. Surrounded by youth from all over the world, I experienced the universality of the Church and the fire of love burning in the hearts of so many young Catholics. After I returned from World Youth Day, I continued to go to daily Mass and started praying three Hail Marys each day, asking my Heavenly Queen to help me know my vocation.
I also kept in touch with the Sisters over the years, and I visited the Motherhouse for various activities. During my senior year, I attended the discernment retreat and for the first time allowed myself to really ponder the question, “Is God calling me to be a Sister?”
It was what my heart longed for, but I was still so young. I went for a walk at the Motherhouse and was struck by the same sense of welcoming I had experienced in Rome. Jesus was opening His arms to me. I continued to speak with the Vocation Directress and I couldn’t stop beaming every time I was with the Sisters.
When I told my mother what I was thinking, she replied that if God was giving me the grace of a religious vocation, He would give her the grace to accept it. So, I entered the following fall and after my years of formation and studying, I can finally say I am a Sister and a teacher.
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