Sister Madelyn Gould

Sister Madelyn GouldMy journey began on a farm 30 miles west of Chicago where I grew up with my parents and three brothers. We didn’t attend Catholic grade school since we were 18 miles from the nearest Catholic school. My parents, however, provided a Catholic high school education for all of us. My brothers attended Marmion Military Academy, staffed by the Benedictines. I attended Madonna High School in Aurora, staffed by the School Sisters of St. Francis.

Nuns were something new for me. I was attracted by their joy, their energy, their sense of camaraderie. Being the only girl in my family, I felt attracted to be part of them. I could have sisters! I felt this is where I could experience a sense of belonging and have a positive direction to my life. When I graduated from high school, I joined the School Sisters of St. Francis....and 53 years later, I have not regretted my decision.

I chose teaching as my first ministry. Even if I had not entered religious life, I wanted to be a teacher. Teaching religion was something I loved doing. It was right after Vatican Council II and I delighted in teaching my students about our God who loves unconditionally.

I taught grade school for seven years, then became a director of religious education, where I taught teachers how to teach religion. More recently, at age 40, I felt a hunger to work with adult spiritual formation. For the last 33 years I have ministered at St. Margaret Mary Church in Naperville, Illinois, as Director of Adult Faith Formation. I provide spiritual direction for adults, lead retreats, and teach classes integrating psychology and spirituality.

As a woman religious, I enjoy being a positive role model and leader in the church. At a time when many are leaving the Church, I feel called to help the Church be the face of Jesus in our world. For any woman who feels a call to enter religious life, I would say enthusiastically, “Give it a try!"

Interview by Sister Ruth Hoerig