The Tapestry

Good Shepherd Sisters Our Stories

I was born in 1928 in the northernmost part of Maine in a place that bordered the St. John River. The Frasier paper mill attracted many workers and their families and soon the town of Madawaska was established with a church and a school of our own.

Like many of the families there, my parents were strong Catholics. They had little formal education, wonderful creative talents, and a faith that could move mountains - a blessing they passed on to their nine children. Being the oldest, my parents taught me responsibility at an early age. I learned how to sew, knit, crochet and cook as a child. I can still remember standing on a chair near the table to bake my first cake!

In this atmosphere of love, faith, and happiness, God started a tapestry that wove secretly in our daily living. I remember seeing the Sisters of St. Joseph when my mother and I visited my father in the hospital. At the age of 3, I didn't appreciate the loving attention the sisters gave me and would often cry when they fussed over me. However when I got home, I would put a towel over my head and walk about like a Sister! My role playing became more focused after my First Communion, when I would play "school" with my siblings. I played the teaching Sister on a mission to China - a fantasy that would stay with me for some time.

By 16, we moved to a farm in Van Buren. That's where I met the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Everyone knew them as the "Good Shepherd Sisters". Although I thought about becoming a Daughter of Wisdom (the congregation my aunts had joined), I soon discovered that God's tapestry was weaving a desire in me to become a Good Shepherd Sister.
Upon finishing high school, I entered the novitiate and happily pronounced my first vows in 1948. I was a teaching Sister for ten years in Maine and often thought about my childhood fantasy of mission work. By this time, my attention was turned to Southern Africa in a small country called Basutoland (later named Lesotho). In 1953, I flew there to dedicate 35 years of service as a teacher and principal of a girls' high school.

I might have liked
to become an opera singer.
But I can still sing to God's
glory in the convent and
I wait to perform my aria
in His heaven.

I was occasionally joined in mission by students from Grinnell College in Iowa. Here, the college showed their appreciation by giving me an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. When I returned in 1993, I was asked to be the convent superior — a position of service — for our American province in Maine.

God has woven the years of my life into a tapestry filled with multiple colors of love, prayer, service, community, and friendship. I love my religious life and I'm very happy that I answered His call. Of course, there are sacrifices. I might have liked to become an opera singer. But I can still sing to God's glory in the convent and I wait to perform my aria in His heaven.

God is weaving a unique tapestry for you. I pray that you will enjoy His work in your life as much a I have. God bless you.

Sr. Dorina