One Sleepless Night

 Sister Rita Our Call

My vocation story dates back to my pre-school years when in play with my dolls or my little friends, I would vacillate between motherhood and sisterhood. On my first day in kindergarten, I was so impressed by the Sister who taught me that from then on I always tried to imitate her in play. As I outgrew my role-playing years, I enjoyed being aunt to my several little nieces and nephews. It gave me a grown-up feeling. Moreover, it gave me the yearning to get married and have many children of my own.

To return to the question of how God called me? Nothing spectacular happened.
The course of events as planned by God led me to what and to where I am today. After high school, my older sister invited me to join her in Washington, D.C. Since I lived in a small town in Northern Maine where employment was rare, I gladly accepted her offer even though I found it difficult to leave my home. Soon I was settled with employment and a neat rooming place.

Everything seemed to be going my way and surpassing all my expectations — until I began to feel an emptiness, a longing deep inside myself that could not be fulfilled. My work no longer gave me satisfaction, or fulfillment. What was wrong with me?

One evening, upon returning from work, I saw lights on in the church, so I went in and asked God to help me. Although He knew all about my feelings, it was good for me to open up to Him. I left the church asking Him to enlighten me. That night I could not sleep. I got up to read. I saw a couple of movie magazines on my table. They had lost their meaning for me on that night. Suddenly my eyes caught sight of a quarterly publication put out by the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec. I decided to look at it hoping it would help me to sleep! I opened the magazine and immediately saw the names of two life-long friends and classmates who had entered the Community of the Good Shepherd Sisters.

Religious Life for me has
been, and continues to
be, a growth-filled
experience both emotionally
and spiritually.

In this incident I found God's answer. Could it be clearer? He was asking me to join my two friends. Without delay I wrote to the superior to ask for my admission. I have never regretted taking that giant step. I adapted to community life quite easily. When hardships appeared, I found consolation from Bible passages such as Psalm 23 "The Lord is my Shepherd." The desires of my heart were truly fulfilled. I did get many children, after all, since I taught school for 48 years and loved it! Community provided plenty of challenges and experiences both in my years of teaching and in pastoral care. Religious Life for me has been, and continues to be, a growth-filled experience both emotionally and spiritually.

Sister Rita