Life as a Sister exceeds all expectations
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
Recently, as I was undergoing some physical therapy treatment, my therapist told me that he had graduated from a Lutheran high school. That led to a conversation about my life and ministry. He finally asked me a startling question. “Aren’t you part of a dying profession?” Unable to come up with a quick response, and preoccupied with the exercises, I simply said, “I guess.” But there’s no way that I meant it.
How do I tell someone in a few moments what religious life has meant to me? How do I explain that meditating daily on the Sacred Scriptures, praying the Liturgy of the Hours every morning and evening, experiencing intimacy with God during an annual retreat, being part of a loving and supportive community of women, proclaiming the Word of God to children and high school students and adults, listening to personal stories and guiding people on their spiritual journeys, have provided me with a life beyond my highest expectations?
Many years ago I read a book entitled "Signs of Contradiction". In it the author, a Franciscan priest whose name I have forgotten, defines religious life in three words: “Religious life is Christ and Christ and Christ.” A former bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, now deceased, Bishop Aloysius Wycislo, described the of discerning a religious vocation in three steps:
You meet Jesus. You fall in love with Him. You choose to give your life to Him.
Three words. Three steps. One Person. One love. One life. One joy. One dedication.