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The NRVC shared another Fun Fact Friday. 

“The average age for considering religious life is 19, but half are younger than 18 when they first consider being a sister, brother, or priest.  Download NRVC’s free “Statistics on recent vocations” learn more at The National Religious Vocation Conference.


Some of our own sisters have also realized God’s call in their lives at an early age. They’ve shared their memories and vocation stories on our website.

Sister Jeanne felt the beginnings of God’s call in middle school…

As far back as 5th or 6th grade, I had a hunch that I might be called to be a sister.  I had sisters from our community as teachers in grade school, and three aunts in the community—so I was no stranger to of religious life.  Still, I didn’t want to entertain the notion that I could be called to this life, so in about the 6th grade I decided that I was going to become a nurse.  You see, all the nuns I knew were teachers, and in my youthful logic, I decided that if I became a nurse, I could not be a nun.

Update, Sister’s hunch led to a life that began with serving God’s people as a nurse, then back to school to become a liturgist for community.  Next she served the community as Sub-Prioress, and today she is president of our Benedictine federation, The Federation of Saint Gertrude.  Apparently, you can be both a nurse and sister!

Sister Louise Marie sensed her call even younger, but realized the call while at our high school…

Our Faith was very important in our family.   Going to Sunday Mass drew me in and seemed to be “so special” even at a young age. I wanted to go to Mass. Without being able to explain it; somehow, I sensed the presence of God…Later, my parents sacrificed much so that all three of us girls could go to Mount Marty High School.

The Sisters, who were most of the teachers then, were attractive to me.  I observed them closely and found myself admiring several of them.  I can still see in my mind’s eye some of them hurrying off to prayer around five pm.  At Mount Marty, we had Mass every day, and I was there. It was an even greater thrill when on some special occasions we students would join the Sisters at their Mass!  I found myself wanting to be like them. To be the goodness I saw in them.

I’ve always loved to be out in nature and most days as a child would go out by myself just to be out in the peace and quiet sounds of nature to watch the breeze wave the grain, or listen to the rustle of the corn leaves.  One day somewhere between my Sophomore and Junior high school years I heard a new sound out in the nature I so loved.  It was the soft and peaceful call of God, “Go to the Convent”.  Since I was the only person out in the pasture, I knew who was speaking in my heart.

Sister Rosemary discerned her early call with simple prayers to know her vocation…

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a teacher and at the same time a nun. I had nuns for teachers, and my aunt, Sister Bernette, was very much a part of our lives…In discerning my call to religious life, I’d attribute it to my family and Catholic School training where I learned to pray for what God wanted me to do.  My prayer to know my vocation was very simple. I liked St. Theresa the Little Flower and my name was Rosemary so I liked St. Rose. My prayer to both was, “If I’m supposed to be a nun you got to get me there!”

Our Sister Madonna was quite young when she heard God call her to religious life, and one of our youngest to answer that call…

I heard that tiny voice of God when I was very young. Four of my father’s siblings, a priest, a Xaverian Brother, and two Benedictine Sisters were frequent guests in our home. Our family was surrounded by men and women religious of various orders in my little hamlet of Epiphany, SD. As children we were nurtured in a deeply faith-filled home under the guidance of parents, who displayed their affection for each other and who parented with gentle but firm discipline.

On my 14th birthday, my parents, along with my paternal grandmother and two sibling, brought me to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Yankton. At that time in history, convent life (for an aspirant) closely resembled a boarding school. Although I was one of many who were my age, I had not anticipated the terrible pang of homesickness. For all practical purposes, I might as well have left my homeland across the ocean even though home was only eighty-five miles away.

It was weeks, months, even years, before I came to realize that I was chosen and God’s call was fortified by grace. Even before my final vows of Stability, Fidelity to the Monastic Way of Life and Obedience, I began to live in an awareness of God and with the firm belief that God’s invitation to follow Jesus was a most wonderful gift to me. Because of His call countless persons have touched my life in a way I could never have dreamed. In the year 2016, I will have walked the way of St. Benedict for seventy years. Mine has been a richly rewarding journey of peaks and valleys, ups and downs, fully cognizant that God is very much in all of it! How I wish that those who are searching God’s plan might take that leap of faith and experience the richness of the GIFT that is mine.

Wondering if God is calling you?  Our next discernment retreat “Explore Religious Life: listening in context” will be held over Palm Sunday weekend, March 23-25.  We invite you to come to the monastery, to set aside some time for your relationship with God, and to take time in prayer, reflection, and conversation with others also seeking God’s will in their lives.


Blessings to you,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

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