RELIGIOUS LIFE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 2017 by Sr. Patricia Graham, CND

As very young children, my brother and I would dress up and play we were a priest and religious sister. At the time who would have thought that the pretend would become a reality for both of us!

I feel very fortunate to have been educated in my elementary, high school, and college years by three different communities of Religious Sisters. Although I did have a slight yearning in high school that I was being called by God to a religious vocation, I was not sure and pursued my college degree. I enjoyed dating during my high school and college years, but always felt like there was something missing. In my senior year of college, I began to feel more deeply God’s invitation to Religious Life. Although as I mentioned, I had sisters from three different communities, once I said, “Yes” to God’s invitation, the choice of which community I would enter was already made ~ the Congregation of Notre Dame, the Sisters who taught me at Saint Jean Baptiste High School.

For many years after my Profession, I had the joy of teaching all the academic subjects to youngsters in the Primary Grades. Several of those years, I prepared the children for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist, which I felt was a real privilege. Community leadership asked me to assume the role of Assistant Principal, which I did for a number of years in two different schools.

My ministry for the past ten years has been as Administrative Assistant in the Office of the Permanent Diaconate at Saint Joseph Seminary. In my role, I have been fortunate to assist two married Permanent Deacons. One Deacon is the Director of the Diaconate Formation Program, for the men preparing to become Deacons. It is a five year program, emphasizing five aspects ~ human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. Once the men are ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon, they are under the direction of the second Deacon I assist, the Director of Ministry and Life.

After celebrating 56 years of Religious Profession, I have never regretted my “Yes,” to God’s invitation. Have there been difficult times in my life ~ of course! But God never abandoned me. He has always walked beside me or carried me when I was not able to journey on my own.

No matter what our walk in life, God continues to call each of us daily to greater love, fidelity, and service assuring us of His unconditional love of each of us, His children.

Sr. Patricia Graham, CND