I enjoy sharing memories with my siblings about our childhood with happy times spent with our parents. I also enjoy the vibrancy of working with our sisters, who are hardworking and prayerful. These sisters share in diverse manners with much laughter.
As a young woman, I belonged to Franciscan community centered in Hankinson, North Dakota. I was sent to Alverno College to study for a bachelor of arts majoring in violin. That is when I first met the School Sisters of St. Francis. One of my happiest memories was my preparation for my graduation recital.
During the turbulent 1960s, I went to Terre Haute, Indiana, for a retreat. Sister Francis Borgia Rothluebber was one of the councilors. I engaged in a conversation with Sister about transferring to the School Sisters of St. Francis. My time at Alverno helped with this process. Three years later, I wrote my request to the Pope, and received permission to transfer my vows. The ceremony of transfer of vows took place at New Cassel Retirement Center.
After joining the School Sisters of St. Francis, I went off to complete courses in clinical pastoral education. I then began chaplaincy at Creighton University Medical School in Omaha. I “retired” in 2002 and now serve as a volunteer chaplain at the medical center. (We all know what that means.)
Some of my greatest joys have been to use my musical talent to help young students with strong ambitions to entertain others. I also used my musical talent during the 1980s and ’90s to accept a request from the director of the Nebraska Office on Aging to join the Intergeneration Orchestra. The orchestra consisted of musicians 55 and older along with young adults 25 years and younger to make use of their talent, practice, and entertain with one another and the public. I say it is a win-win for everyone! I also say that my skill with the violin came in handy while I was chaplain for the monthly prayer services with families that have lost loved ones.
One story about working with young people I look back on is when I said to a student, “Billy, you are an angel.” He resisted the compliment and replied, “No, no. I’m not an angel, you are an angel.” To balance that happening was a time during a chorus rehearsal when my veil loosened and fell to the floor. I think the students enjoyed the incident way more than I did.
My joys as chaplain are bringing prayer, hope, and compassion to patients in duress over an upcoming surgery. I hope that I am an example of God’s love and protection. I bring joy to them during times of difficulty and share time with those in need of friendship and understanding.
When I think of anyone who wants to join the School Sisters of St. Francis, I think of when I entered. I was concerned about how I was going to handle the changes that were required to be made. The key is to be open to communicate your desires with the sisters, put your trust in the Lord, and always be yourself. Remember the importance of prayer, intercessory prayer, compassion, and strong faith.
I connected to he image of God as a dove, the spirit who hovers over the waters of chaos to bring new life. I am always myself, and care for others as the Good Shepherd has cared for me.
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