As I reflect on how I became a Sister, I give God thanks, the glory, and the praise for allowing me to be born into a Christian-Catholic family. That family consists of mom and dad, my grandparents who almost lived next door. They all had eyes, a hundred eyes, on what we did. I’m an only girl and I have 4 brothers and we all did things together. They covered for me so many times. However, the thing my parents stressed was family, church, and helping somebody else along the way. I grew up wanting to help and I guess that was a seed planted and it continued to grow. I saw it grow, Daddy was a farmer, so we lived close to the earth and enjoyed whatever the ground gave us and we got it. On that farm, there was a lot of work and a lot of everything else. Planting the seed in the garden for the food we needed, taking care of the animals, watering the animals from a cow to the ducks, to the turkeys, and all the others in between. The other work was helping others. So our neighbors were always included and to this day there is an old lady that I call Mrs. Mary. She’s dead and gone. I don’t know how she became my grandmother Mary, but that’s what we called her out of respect.
I received my elementary education in the public schools. Money was scarce. In high school, however, I attended Immaculate Conception High School, the parish high school was where our sisters taught and they must have done well because they gave us a good foundation. We were a very high achieving class and we challenged each other. So much so that whatever college I presented to my parents that I wanted to attend such as Southern University, my parents would say no because too many of your friends were going there. One of our dear sisters, Sr. Laura, I guess today you would call her your counselor or your guidance counselor, she said, “How about St. Mary’s?” I had never heard of a St. Mary’s. She gathered information and she got a scholarship for me and I attended St. Mary’s in Leavenworth, Kansas. We had one sister here from Leavenworth, Kansas where I attended school. She was a class above me, I didn’t know her personally, but it was good to see a Sister of Charity.
There, I was away from my parent’s supervision and their tendency to tell me where I or my brothers could or couldn’t go. Back home they were like watchdogs and I resented that and wanted to get away from them, so I did go to St. Mary’s at that time. There, I learned to deal with loneliness. Being away from a family that was so close, I didn’t know how to do it, but what they gave me helped me through it. Being with friends from different cultures, different nationalities, different languages, learning to survive and making real close friends. We always had the opportunity to do volunteer work. Help someone, it was our way to help someone. We helped inside the convent because the convent was right there on campus. So we would do some touring in the school for the little ones. We would even do some “nursing” at the nursing center with our senior Sisters.
After two years of college our parish priest, “What are you going to do next year?” I said, “I don’t know, I guess go back to school.” He said “Really? Did you ever think about becoming a nun? The Sisters of the Holy Spirit, definitely”. Many times in high school, we had a little bayou to separate us. The bayou went this way, the convent and parish grounds went over here. The highway was on the opposite side. I would take the long way, to not bother the sisters, because the sisters enjoyed walking along the bayou in the shade. He kept on talking, “We have the Holy Family Sisters, visit them in New Orleans.” So I replied, “The Presentation (Sisters), I knew about them. We had 5 different girls that visited the Convent from our parish. Some entered and didn’t stay, but I stayed. I visited the Holy Family Sisters and I said this is not where I want to spend the rest of my life. He said, “Well, what about the Sisters over there in the White House?” The convent was white. I said I don’t know. I told my Daddy when I went home that I was joining the convent. He said, “For how long?”... I’m still here and Daddy is in heaven so he must be watching.