Top Ten: Sister Love

Yes, I realize it’s Thursday, but Top Ten Wednesday was too good not to share this week.  We’re saying “until we meet again” to two of the Dominican Sisters – Sr. Maria Gemma (SMG) and Sr. Mary Cecilia (SMC) – and we’ll see you in the fall” to Sr. Elizabeth Ann (SEA) and Sr. Thomas Aquinas (STA). 
Because these sisters live in community, they all return to the Mother House at various times throughout the year, but most especially during the summer months when the school year is complete.  They get their new assignments and SMG and SMC won’t be coming back to Austin in the fall.  For the record, I’m not happy about it. But, I know they have many more lives to touch. I am so grateful – and that really doesn’t capture my thankfulness – they came into our lives.  Sisters, this top ten is for you…


1.  Their joy.  It is contagious!  If you’re a practicing Catholic, a fallen away one, a Protestant or a Jew, you cannot deny their total joy for their vocation.  When you are in their presence, you can feel the Holy Spirit at work.  It’s pretty awesome.

2.  Their habits.  Some nuns wear habits, some don’t.  I’m not going to get all theological on you, but just know this.  As a married woman, I would never consider going anywhere without my wedding ring.  It is a visible symbol of my vocation to married life.  The sisters’ habits – what they refer to as their ‘wedding dress’ – is their outward sign.  I like it.  Go big or go home.

3.  Their cooking.  Man, the lasagna, pastries, cookies and banana bread they cook is pretty much second to none.

4.  Their refreshing honesty.  Before I became Catholic, I really thought that nuns were all high and mighty.  A ruler to the knuckles kind of bunch.  Then I met the Dominicans.  They are funny and real and prayerful and holy.  Yes, you can be all four.

5.  Their passion to witness.  Whether it’s passing out holy cards and candy to the neighborhood kids on Halloween, kicking a soccer ball with middle schoolers, visiting the sick in the hospital or praying with high schoolers at retreats, the sisters meet people where they are and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.  Shouldn’t we all be doing that?

6.  Their prayer life.  I’ll admit, the rigorous prayer schedule they keep is work.  I forget what time they get up, but it’s early people.  I suspect I’m up at the same hour, but my prayer is usually, “Please God, let this baby fall back asleep.”  At any rate, they remind me that we all have a calling to pray, everyone just goes about it in a different way.  As a wise priest once told me about praying, “Pray like a Mom, Kathryn, not like a nun.  Embrace your vocation.”  So, while we may have different prayer lives, we pray to the same God asking for many of the same things…patience…wisdom…strength…obedience…

7.  Their charism.  Many orders have various ways in which they minister.  The Dominicans are teachers.  And I would go so far to say they’re not just teachers in our Catholic schools (although my boys totally dig seeing them walking the hallways), they are also teachers, by witness, in our community.  And mighty fine ones at that.

8.  Their effect on my children.  All it takes is one, “[Insert child’s name here], would you act like that if the sisters were here?”  I’m seriously considering getting a life-size cutout of the four of them and putting them in strategic places throughout the house.

9.  Their love and honor of Mary.  Throughout all of our hospital stays with Luke, we’ve been blessed with the sisters’ presence at some point during his stay.  All h**l would be breaking loose and in they would come.  I would immediately feel peace and a burden lifted.  I have to think that Mary’s intercession, her understanding of what it’s like to see your child suffer, is conveyed through their presence.  They have renewed my conviction to be a better mother.

10.  Their laughs.  I don’t think there is a single picture that exists without them smiling.  In fact, I can’t recall a time I haven’t seen them smile.  Undoubtedly, they heard God’s call to religious life and live it out so beautifully.

So, I sit here with wet eyes, sad at their departure yet happy for the experience of the past year.  Hat tip to Archbishop Aymond for prayerfully extending the invitation for them to come to Austin and to my lovely husband for helping them get some financial footing in the world of development.  Sisters, never doubt how much we love you.  There is no distance between tabernacles, right?


  1. Sister Maria Gemma on June 10, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Nope! There is absolutely no distance between tabernacles, where hearts are united in the Holy Eucharist!

    We have been so blessed by your friendship, your love and your prayers for us. Your faithful, joyful and self-sacrificial living of your vocation as spouses and parents provide us with a great role model of unselfish gift of self.

    God bless each of you and a big Gig 'em!

    May our dear Lord bless you abundantly, now and always!

  2. amanda on June 10, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Is it me or is John Paul looking more and more like Jack Dodson with each picture!?!

    Love you Sr. Maria Gemma! 🙂

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