“I went all through public school so I didn’t really know sisters at all. When I graduated from high school, I worked in the city at House Beautiful magazine for a few years. I dated and I had lots of fun. My mother, who was a very holy woman, used to encourage me to go to Monday night novenas. I went to be a good daughter, but it was never my appeal. It’s hard to explain a vocation. It’s a very mysterious invitation from God. I think what had a lot to do with it was my brother, my favorite brother, my oldest brother, 23, was killed in World War II. He died to serve others. That was a tremendous loss for my family. I think there was something —in fact, I’m sure of it as I get older— that was the motivating source of serving others. I didn’t know what or how I wanted to do it, but I wanted to do something for others.

I got this brochure from the archdiocese where it listed different congregations, and the Mother General at Newburgh wrote me a personal letter giving me a definite date and time to go up and see her.

When I went into that chapel at Newburgh, there was something about that chapel that I thought, ‘This is heaven.’ It was so wonderful. I filled out an application that day.

But deciding to become a sister— it’s the grace of God.” -Sister Lorraine Ferguson

I Read The Hound of Heaven

“I had been fighting it like crazy; I didn’t want to be a sister. After high school, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll teach for a few years,’ but then I couldn’t fight it anymore. If you’ve ever read “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson, that’s what it felt like. Finally, I visited Newburgh, and there was such a wonderful spirit of joy and happiness among the sisters. I didn’t see that in some of the other places I visited. That’s what sold me. Now, I can’t imagine myself in any other life. I know that, if I hadn’t responded to that call, I probably wouldn’t be as happy as I am.” –Sister Pat Peters

I Wanted a Nun Doll

“I just always wanted to be a nun. Even as a little kid. My sister and I would go out shopping for Christmas, and I’d say, ‘I want a nun doll.’ In fact, in grammar school, I told Tommy Fox, ‘Tommy, you can’t marry me, but you can marry my sister!’

I felt very called. I worked for a couple of years in a bank; I went to banking school. But I just knew. It was just something in my life; I knew that this was what I wanted. And I feel today that there are people who are called, and they just have to listen. It’s not an instant response.” –Sister Barbara Hamilton

I Felt That There Was Something More

“The seed was planted in 1948 when I went to Newburgh for my father’s sister’s funeral. I met the sisters, and I was so impressed with them; they were all dressed in white and were very, very hospitable.

When I went home, I still had that kind of interest in Newburgh. I began to keep in touch with the vocation director and she would send me brochures. I thought i would go after graduation, but my father died when i was a junior so i felt being the oldest I should take care of my mom and my brother and sister, so I went out to work. I was the secretary to the Vice President of a bank. I was very active, and yet there was this call saying ‘there’s something more.’

I entered the convent in 1957.

The brochures they sent me were pictures of nuns kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament; I thought I was going up there [to the convent] to be with the Lord all the time! I didn’t think I was going to be teaching. I entered the Dominican Sisters on Saturday, September 8th. On Monday morning, I was sent out to teach second-graders. It was a shock! But teaching turned out to be my greatest gift that I didn’t know I had. –Sister Philomena McCartney

I Couldn’t Ignore It

“Growing up, I always wanted to be a Sister. And if anybody says, “How come?” I can’t say how come. It was just something that I felt. But I never really thought it would materialize.

I wanted to enter when I finished high school (I was only sixteen-years-old), and, at that time, the ex-Mother General kept telling me I was too young. So I worked in New York City for an insurance company for nine years. But, even though I was working, and I enjoyed what I was doing, I wasn’t really satisfied. I would do things like go on vacation with my sisters, and, in about three days, I’d be bored to death! Finally, I took the bull by the horns and I said, ‘I have to go to the convent!’” –Sister Anne Stephen Hajducek

It All Worked Out

“I remember being at Seaside Park. I was sitting on the shore knowing that I was going to be a senior in high school, and I just said, “I am going to be a nun.” That’s it. I wanted to be like those women who were happy and smart, and they were very good teachers and I wanted to teach.

So I said to God, ‘If this is what you want me to do, it’s going to all work out. And, if this isn’t what you want me to do, then it isn’t going to work out.’

It all worked out.” –Sister Catherine Walsh

This post is in honor of National Catholic Sisters Week. For all related posts, click here.