Sisters Speak

Childhood Dreams Fulfilled

There is a certain mystery in the way God plants the seeds of desire in our hearts and lets them grow. Sr. Kathryn Press, ASCJ reflects on this mystery and how God has satisfied her heart’s longings in unexpected ways.

Sr. Kathryn Press

Sr. Kathryn, age 12, dons a dress fit for the prairie

When I was in Kindergarten, I wanted to be a fire fighter when I grew up. They wore cool hats and had awesome trucks. In an effort to practice the necessary skills, I sprayed water from the hose and ran around as a "siren" in an effort to alert the neighbors of any danger. In elementary school I fell in love with the Little House on the Prairie books and was convinced I'd been born at the wrong time in history. Working a farm, making cornhusk dolls, and going to school in a one-room school house sounded far better than my life at the time! Yet it was around this time, fourth grade or so, that I first told my mom I wanted to be a sister when I grew up. Given that my only exposure to religious life was from The Sound of Music, it was an interesting comment to make. I often wondered why I wanted to become a sister without ever having met a sister in person.

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In our latest edition of Sisters Speak, Sr. Susan Emmerich shares the story of how God used a simple homework assignment to sweep her off her feet.

Q: How old were you when you first thought about a vocation to religious life?

Sr. Susan (top left), shortly before entering the novitiate

Sr. Susan (top left), shortly before entering the novitiate

Sr. Susan: A more basic response for me is when I first decided religious life was definitely not for me! When I was a child, the Sisters in my home parish neither owned a car nor even drove, so when they had university classes to attend or other appointments away from home they depended on generous parishioners to provide their transportation. My mother was one of those designated drivers. I remember ringing the convent doorbell on many a Saturday to tell the Sisters that Mom had arrived to take Sister (or Sisters) wherever. Invariably the door was opened by a Sister wearing a blue checked apron who stopped her cleaning assignment only long enough to greet me and then deliver the message to the awaited passenger who usually appeared carrying a black book bag as she headed out for her classes. It didn’t take me very long to decide that Convent life was not for me since the Sisters seemed to be going to school all the time and working too hard! By age eight or nine I knew that that was not the life for me!

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Finding Hope in Humility

After attending the National Religious Vocation Conference Convocation in 2020, Sr. Allison Masserano, ASCJ reflects on community living and what gives her hope.

An older and younger sister talking together

“I want to be more faithful to my spiritual reading. So I just started trying to do it every day at 4:00 p.m.” This would have been a rather unremarkable statement had I heard it from one of my peers, from a sister in my formation group. We were always trying out new routines and practices and looking to each other for accountability. But, I have to admit, when a seventy-year-old sister casually mentioned this to me at the end of a brief conversation in the hallway, I was surprised. Without realizing it I had fallen into the temptation of assuming that someone a few generations older than me must be set in her ways. Jaded. Complacent. An older sister actively trying to better herself? I’m embarrassed to say, it took me by surprise.

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