I grew up on a small farm in Missouri with my parents and seven siblings. We were a very happy family, had lots of chores, we had a large garden, chickens, pigs, and cattle. We also had lots of fruit trees. At that time we did not have electricity, so we smoked the meat, and canned the vegetables and fruit. We were pretty self-sufficient. Lots of hands made all this possible. We had a croquet set, one jigsaw puzzle, a monopoly game, and made up games.
Our social life consisted of visiting family, and participating in Church and school events. The parish school was one room taught by a lay teacher, about 30 students. Our pastor came in twice a week and would ask all the Baltimore Catechism questions. After that he would tell us stories.
We prayed the family rosary every night on our knees. Sometimes Mom would add novenas or litanies. We went to confession every two weeks, and attended Friday evening Marian Devotions with Benediction.
In fifth grade we got a new pastor who had been expelled from China, he was a very holy priest. He would take two grades at a time to his office for class and explain the catechism questions to us. He would ask us to look up some Bible quotes when we got home. I loved doing this. This was the beginning of my love for scripture.
Our pastors were Franciscan priests. My Mom joined the secular Franciscans when she was 16, as did all the young people. In 8th grade Father talked about the aspirancy and I thought it would be nice to go but decided to stay home. I also read the life of St. Francis and that touched me deeply.
I attended St. George High School where I met the Sisters. They looked very happy to me and close to God. That attracted me.
As a freshman I had no time to think about religious life. My sophomore homeroom Sister asked me one morning “Have you ever thought about being a Sister?” I said “Oh, yes” in an off the cuff remark. She said “I think you would be a good one.” That started me thinking.
During my junior year I was enjoying doing things with my classmates, but the thought about being a sister kept coming back to me over and over again. I kept pushing it aside saying “I want to get married, have a big family, and live in a beautiful house in the country.” But God continued his prodding. I’d always give him the same answer.
In June before my senior year while attending the Marian Devotions I made my decision. During Benediction I looked at the Host and said “OK, God, if you want me to be a Sister I will go but if I don’t like it I am coming home.” That settled that. Then I had great peace, I knew what I would do.
It got to be March of my senior year and I thought pretty soon I have to tell someone about this. The answer came through the principle. She told me that the pastor was taking some girls to Mishawaka and she asked me if I’d like to go. I guess the expression on my face said yes. She asked me “Do you want to be a Sister?” And I replied “Yes.” She asked if I had told my parents and I said no. She made me do that that very evening. Everyone was in bed except Mom and me, she was mending and I was doing homework. I said “Mom, I think I want to be a Sister.” She did not respond. So I said it again louder, thinking she may not have heard me. She said “If that is what you want to do that is good.” That’s all she said. My parents were very proud of me, as well as the rest of my family.
I graduated from St. George in May and entered the postulancy on August 22, 1957. I have been a very happy Sister for 56 years. The more faithful we are in doing the will of God the greater is our happiness.Sister Dorothy, Perpetual Vows