I attended a Catholic Elementary School in our neighborhood and was in admiration of the missionary work of the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries who were our Parish priests, who were loving in serving the needs of peoples in a spirit of Joy. I became a Catholic in the 7th Grade. The Sisters who taught in our parish school were Felicians, a Polish Order of Franciscans well-known in the Diocese of Chicago. However, I was not attracted to them as I wanted to be a Foreign Missionary, not a Nun.
My brother was in 5th Grade and unknowingly had a congenital anomaly of his heart due to the prematurity of his birth, an overriding aorta. I was in school the day my brother was to be admitted to the hospital for surgery; he was in school and left from there. I kissed him goodbye through tears from a sister who was loving but not always close to him. I ran into the chapel at school and begged God out loud that I would be good to him, just don’t let my brother die. My 7th Grade teacher came after me to console me. She told me if I wanted my brother to live I would have to give my life to God. So, before her and Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I said "Yes," I will my life to God.
I thought I was to die, and after my brother came through the surgery successfully, I was waiting to die. My dear Mother wondered how well I was behaving and told me she was happy but she felt something was wrong with me. I told her I was getting ready to die. Of course my Mother wanted to know why I thought that, so I told her Sister said if my brother was to live I was to give my life to God. My Mother went to Sister and asked her why she would say that. Sister said she did not mean I was to die, but she thought I had a vocation to give my life to God as a Nun. My mother knew I didn’t want be a Nun. But as I went through high school, a co-ed High School also in an SVD parish in Chicago, my desire was even stronger to be a missionary.
The priests at my parish and at the high school convinced me that to be a missionary I would have to be a Nun and I was happy when they explained to me that the SVD’s had women Religious as part of their Communities, called Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit (Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters). For over 52 years I have been blessed and hopefully have blessed others while a missionary, and, yes, I was in Ghana West Africa for thirteen years. I have been chosen from all eternity to be the first African American Sister in our Community. Daily I pray for the grace of perseverance to become more like the Divine Word, Jesus.