By Sister Ceil Taphorn
I think my religious vocation began in the sixth grade. I attended Nativity of Our Lord grade school in Cincinnati where the Sisters of Mercy taught. Sister Incarnata was my sixth-grade teacher and also my piano teacher. She was a very happy and kind person and left a huge impression on me.
After I graduated from eighth grade, I went to Regina High School in Norwood, Ohio, where the Sisters of the Precious Blood taught and lived in the convent attached to the school. I had many wonderful sisters for my classes, but my business teacher had a major influence on me. She, too, was very happy, kind and had a special way of acknowledging me. She went out of her way to talk to me and took an interest in my social life. As far as I can remember she never talked to me about being a sister.
I was a typical teenager. I was active in sports, went to parties, and was having fun. Unlike many teens, however, I went to daily Mass during Lent and to other devotions at the church. As a family we prayed the rosary each night. I had a feeling that I might have a religious vocation, but I didn’t want to enter the convent.
My mother taught me by her example that unless a person does what God wants, one will never be happy. Of course, I wanted to be happy, so every night in my senior year I prayed, “Lord, help me to want what You want.” I don’t think I ever mentioned to anyone about saying that prayer each night. Yes, God did answer my prayer.
In April of my senior year, after the sisters drove a car full of us girls to visit the Precious Blood Sisters’ motherhouse in Dayton, I knew that I wanted to become a sister. To see the sisters as truly human and happy was of utmost importance to me. Those two qualities assured me that I would not lose my individuality or my joy and love for life.
I entered the community the following August, 1959. In all my educational and pastoral ministries, I have tried to share God’s love in a personal way and to be a caring and life-giving presence. I am very grateful to God for calling me to serve the church as a Sister of the Precious Blood. They have been not only happy but very rewarding years … and yes, I’m still having fun!
Sister Ceil’s Vocation Story published on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Vocations webpage