Sister Cynthia, O.S.F.

The Unexpected Call

“Do you have any regrets of becoming a Religious Sister?” was the first serious question I asked Sister Kathleen as she started to drift off to sleep after a busy day of World Youth Day Events back in 1993 in Denver, Colorado. The Holy Spirit never tires of speaking the truth, for it was about 1:00 AM when that question was asked and like St. Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica who on their yearly visitation spent the day and night speaking of the glory of God, we too, spent the remainder of our sleeping hours speaking about religious life and the beauty behind that special call from God.

As the sun rose ready to greet a new day so did we, for sleep was not a part of God's plan for us that night. More events needed to be attended, including a 5 mile hike into Cherry Creek National Park where Pope St. John Paul II would be holding a Vigil Mass for the Assumption. The power of the Holy Spirit inflamed our hearts and once again, we literally spent the day and the entire night enjoying one another's company, developing a friendship and marveling at how God's providence continued to unfold.

Read more: Sister Cynthia, O.S.F.

Sr. Veronica Volkmer, M.S.

God used Protestant friends to reveal His will

Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln

God has an amazing way to let His will be known. He used my Protestant friends to lead me to a religious vocation.

When I returned to Nebraska after attending college out of state, I was hired as a teacher in a small Nebraska town that had no Catholic Church. Most of the people there belonged to one of three Protestant denominations that had churches there. I attended Sunday Mass in my own home parish, since I was still living with my parents and siblings some distance away.

Because Catholics were a minority, I was asked many questions by students and peers. Although I had attended Catholic high school and college, I must confess that much of what I was taught went in one ear and out the other! At the time, those lessons didn’t seem to have much bearing on my life.  However, when I began to be questioned on why Catholics did this, or why they believe that, I had to go to my pastor to give me the explanation that I lacked. 

Read more: Sr. Veronica Volkmer, M.S.

Sr. Mary Agnelis SSpSAP

My vocation story

Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration (SSpSAP)

I believe God planted the seed of vocation to the consecrated life in me, as I had clear reminiscences from childhood.

For instance, I was once asked by my second-grade teacher, what did I want to be when I grow up? I answered candidly, “I want to be a nun.”

Then came a moment in my life as a young adult, a strong inner stirring that unsettled me and although I did not understand, I knew it was a longing for something deeper and more meaningful, more than practicing my profession. I did not take myself too seriously, but God did, as the next few months and years He assured me of His providence; and grace was truly working in me. I was determined to let go of everything.

Read more: Sr. Mary Agnelis SSpSAP

Sr. Bernadette Radek, M.S.

The seed of a vocation

Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln

It has always been a delightful experience for me to listen to how God has worked in the lives of men and women in calling them to the priesthood and religious life. No two stories are even remotely similar. In my own call to religious life, I never had the experience of searching or anguishing over whether I was called to religious life or not. For some reason the Lord spared me of that. I know that for some it has been a long, drawn-out battle saying “yes” to God’s call.

My home parish is St. Joseph in Geneva. The seed of a vocation was planted in my little soul at the tender age of 4. I remember it distinctly as if it happened last week. I was in church before Sunday Mass. I saw the sisters walking to their place in the front of church. I remember asking my mother about them and my response to her answer was, “I want to be one, too.” From that time on the little seed of the vocation took root. With a dish towel on my head, I often played being a sister. Once I started school, I loved being around the sisters.

Read more: Sr. Bernadette Radek, M.S.

Sr. Mary Gabriel, C.K.

Belonging totally to the King

School Sisters of Christ the King

I grew up on a small farm in western Illinois.  As the middle child of four siblings, I was immersed in the simple faith of my parents and the people of the surrounding community.

My parents were adamant about taking our family to Sunday Mass and about taking my siblings and me to CCD at our small mission parish. It was during one of those CCD classes my sixth grade year that I first heard a Sister talk about religious life. I left that night mentally adding “become a Sister” right behind “become an astronaut” and “become the first woman president” on the list of things I wanted to be when I grew up.

The idea of religious life remained in the back of my mind throughout junior high and high school. God blessed this time by giving me a faith-filled group of friends.  Their example and encouragement taught me the great joy that comes with having a deep friendship with Jesus. My friendship with Jesus continued to grow during my time at Illinois State University. In fact, it grew exponentially.

Read more: Sr. Mary Gabriel, C.K.

Sr. Peter Marie Lewandowski, C.K.

Lord, it is good that we are here

School Sisters of Christ the King

When I was growing up, the experience I had of God was through the hearts of my parents. They formed my own heart to not only have the ability to hear God when He called me to religious life, but to also go after Him full force.

I grew up in Overland Park, Kan., with two younger brothers. The three of us seemed to have the capacity to be a part of everything that involved sports, as well as school. We also enjoyed eating, and we did it well together every night around the dinner table.

After graduating high school in 2006, I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, utterly thrilled by the possibility of new friends and football games. During the first few weeks, I hesitantly joined a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) Bible study and was stunned to see several other young women a part of it. These women attracted my attention toward God because they asked questions about the people and events in the Bible as though those things were real.

Read more: Sr. Peter Marie Lewandowski, C.K.

Sr. Theresa Thanh Thao, CMRM

Then and Now - Forever

A boat quietly departed in the ghostly darkness on a late December night in 1985, headed for the Gulf of Thailand. Onboard were more than 50 Vietnamese people of all ages. Hearts were brimming with hope that they would reach the promised land of freedom outside of Vietnam.

Morning came and began a beautiful day; the sky clear and sunny. Everyone on board knew there was no going back. They would either make it to safety or die somewhere in the immense and unforgiving sea. Fear of the uncertainty and the unknown lingered in their minds. Were they heading in the right direction? Would they survive? Would they be hit by a storm or face cruel pirates? No one had any answers.

For the Nguyens and hundreds of thousands of their fellow South Vietnamese, it was the beginning of a decades-long nightmare—one that prompted one of the largest mass exoduses in modern history as political refugees fled, year after year, in rickety boats across the China Sea.

Read more: Sr. Theresa Thanh Thao, CMRM

Sr. Mary Maximilian, C.K.

A sister and a teacher

School Sisters of Christ the King

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.

Read more: Sr. Mary Maximilian, C.K.

Sr. M. Thérèse, ISSM

God’s precious gift

My name is Sr. M. Thérèse.  I was born in Wisconsin and I grew up in the Milwaukee area.  I entered the community of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in September 2009, and I received the dress of the sisters in April 2010. 

As a child, I joined a Schoenstatt Girls Youth group.  I always enjoyed coming for the monthly group meetings, as well as for the weekend retreats and summer camps.  However, I was more interested in having fun than in learning or listening to the talks given by the other girls youth or by the sisters.  Even so, the home-like atmosphere of the Schoenstatt Center and being with the joyful sisters drew me in like a magnet, and so I came as often as I could.

As I grew older, I became more involved in the Schoenstatt Girls Youth and I eventually became a leader.  This means that I began leading some of the girls’ groups and I also helped with weekend retreats and summer camps for the Schoenstatt Girls Youth. 

Read more: Sr. M. Thérèse, ISSM

Sr. Patricia Radek, M.S.

I Know You are God

Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln

My vocation story begins at the time I was 12. It was that summer, during a week when one of my sisters was home on vacation, that the Holy Spirit began to move in my life. Out of the blue one day she said to me, “You’d make a beautiful Sister someday, Pat!” Then she read Matt. 6: 25-34 to me, and it seemed to speak to my heart. The seed was planted.

I remember one certain Saturday during my junior high years. I was going to go shopping with my mom. It really started out like all the usual Saturday afternoons. When we got downtown, though, I suddenly had a strong desire to go visit our church which was just two blocks from main street in Geneva. When I went inside, it was dark and empty. I walked up to the middle of the church, sat down in one of the pews, and just stared at the sanctuary lamp and the tabernacle for quite a while.

Out of the stillness, I heard myself saying rather loudly, “I know you are there, I know you are God, and I know that I love you.” I then left and walked back to find my mom in one of the stores. As I was walking downtown, I thought to myself, “I actually just talked to God, no formal prayer, but from somewhere deep within.” It was definitely a “WOW” moment.

Read more: Sr. Patricia Radek, M.S.

Sr. Mary Kansier, M.S.

Vocation Story

Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln

It is hard to determine exactly when my religious vocation began. Despite the fact that I had never met a religious sister and did not go to parochial school or CCD, in sixth grade I told my mother "I'm going to be a nun!" The idea persisted, perhaps in the back of my mind, through my high school years. However, I believed that you had to be at least 70 years old and retired to enter the convent.

During my freshman year at college, I began to get involved at the Newman Center and grew greatly in my understanding of the Catholic faith. After two years of college, I got a full time job at a local nursing home where I worked for two years. During that time, I also visited the Marian Sisters on several occasions. Two college friends had entered, so I would come out and visit them. Later I received invitations to various days of prayer. I always enjoyed the visits and prayer. However, if anyone asked me if I was considering a vocation, I replied, "Nope - not my calling."

Read more: Sr. Mary Kansier, M.S.

Sr. Ana Maria, O.S.F.

Hispanic adventures and more

By Sr. Ana Maria, O.S.F., Superior of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother

Living in Nebraska City provides a variety of ministries for me. I find that meeting Hispanic families in their own environment proves very beneficial in that I get to know their concerns and aspirations.

During summer, the good people of Nebraska City bring many vegetables and fruit to our door. This gives me much opportunity to share the food and to put my foot in the door of the unchurched. During the months of October and May, I invite myself to their home and to other practicing families to pray the Rosary with them. Afterward, we talk about Our Lord’s love, suffering and teachings, and of Our Lady’s loving obedience to God’s will and of her mediation.

During the season of Lent, the emphasis falls exclusively on praying the stations of the cross in their homes. While praying the stations, their eyes focus on a large crucifix or on the pictorials. Each person reads a station and all meditate. The stations of the cross booklet, being most personal, allows all participants to apply the meditation to their lives. When finished, each member of the family goes before the crucifix to thank the Lord for His love and mercy and to ask for forgiveness. Some family members pray aloud, which benefits the listeners.

Read more: Sr. Ana Maria, O.S.F.

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