When I was confirmed in the sixth grade, the bishop asked our group what Sisters take when they make their profession. I was the only one who raised a hand and said “vows.” It was then that I first thought about becoming a women religious. In the eighth grade, Precious Blood Sisters Florentine and Alecia asked what I would like to be as an adult and I wrote that I wanted to be a nun.
I really think that God was calling me. I always liked the Mass. I was very attracted to Eucharist.
After eighth grade, Sisters Florentine Gregory and Alicia Meiering brought me to Dayton to visit Fatima Hall, their Congregation’s high school for girls preparing to enter the convent. I expressed an interest in going to Fatima, buy my father was against it. He thought I was too young, so I went to the local school for freshman year. I entered Fatima Hall in my sophomore year.
The call never left me. I just knew that this where God wanted me to be. I never really thought about leaving the community. I can’t imagine being anything other than a Sister of the Precious Blood.
During my freshman year in high school, Sister Florentine was my English teacher and admired her. She knew how to take adversity and make it positive. Her whole approach to life was an acceptance of what is, not blaming circumstances on people and still being the loving person she was. I wanted the strength she had to rise above adversity. Sister Alicia, who taught me in grade school, was fun, too. She taught us how to dance.
In speaking with women discerning religious life today, I simply explain they should give it chance. They should research different community to find one with a charism that fits their interest and passion. We, as older religious, need to support the young women who are coming and asking us about religious life. We need to support them not where we are, but where they are. Their world is totally different than ours and the people they will be ministering to are totally different than those we were ministering to in our life. You have to be open to what is and very much be open to the possibilities.
Sister Nancy Recker is pastoral care minister at Emma/Lourdes Hall CPPS at Maria-Joseph Center in Dayton, Ohio.