Sister Joan Marie, O.P.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee
Entered in 1992
Occupation before entering: Laundry attendant, Diesel Shop worker, and ARMY National Guard
My name is Sr. Joan Marie, I am from Nashville, TN. I was working at a Diesel Shop, making and refitting parts for trucks and other vehicles; at the same time I was in the Army National Guard working with Helicopters. For a while I felt I was being called to religious life, then one day I went home and looked at a Catholic Digest Magazine and there was an article about the Sisters and what they do. I wanted to go and see so I went.
When it was time to leave after my visit, I believed strongly this is where I should be.
When I returned home, I wasn’t sure. So I waited almost 2 years before I asked to enter, because now I felt positively that this community is where I should be, with their prayer life and their work.
I entered in 1992 and I am still here serving in many ways, I have found fulfillment and I would not want to do anything else. It is a well ordered and blessed life.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His love endures forever” 1 Chronicles 16:34
One of my favorite Scripture verses… and still is. It was Love that brought me to the Religious Life, and it is Love that keeps me here. My vocation story is quite simple…in fact, too simple…no major conversion, no big fanfare! When God called me, He knew that He needed to be simple and direct…and that He was!
I was born and raised in the Philippines surrounded by my parents, siblings and extended family. Growing up, we did not have much, but I never knew it, never felt it. I was happy and never knew hunger! My parents provided for us, protected us, and loved us the best they knew how. We did not always get what we wanted but we were not lacking in needs. I believe it was my parents loving example and generosity that laid the foundations to my vocation and my grandmother’s simple faith that nurtured the seed. My family and I moved to the United States when I was a child. It was like the Holy Family’s “Flight to Egypt”…fleeing for safety. When I was thirteen years old, I felt the call to the Religious Life. I inquired about it but really too young for anything to materialize…yet I was open to whatever God was asking of me. I went on with my life…dated, finished my studies, graduated from nursing school and worked at a hospital as a registered nurse. Somehow, it was made clear to me that my childhood dream of getting married and raising family is not meant to be. I felt hunger…longing for more. The call to the religious life became more evident and stronger especially after college. I prayed about it and visited religious communities. My last visit to the Hawthorne Dominicans was during vocation week in the year of 2000. On the Feast of St. Dominic, I said “Yes” to God and three months later, I entered the Hawthorne Dominicans as a Religious Sister on the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Answering the call to the Religious Life was not easy…it requires trust, trust is God’s great love for us. I believe the obstacles and doubts that come across our paths are there to strengthen our faith and our love for Him. I am forever grateful to my parents for their love and support…for my dear father who suffered greatly for “giving up” another one of his daughters.* He now sees God face to face and understands all things!
“My grace is sufficient for you…” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Looking back, it was God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s great Love for me that He called me to the Religious life!! The hunger and longing I had felt was for God. A hunger and longing that only He can satisfy!
*Sr. Mary Josepha’s sister, Sr. Alma Marie is also a member of the Hawthorne Dominicans
Sister Mary Josepha, O.P.
Born in Philippines
Entered in 2000
Occupation before entering:
Critical Care Nurse
Sister Catherine Marie, O.P.
Born in Bloomington, Illinois
Entered in 2003
Occupation before entering: Pediatric Nurse
I received my vocation while I was involved in running a Catholic woman’s group in Charlotte, NC. A priest had given a talk on the Gospel of the workers in the vineyard. Upon meditating on this Scripture passage and the priest’s talk, I thought to myself, “Have I missed what I was supposed to do?” I was a pediatric nurse in Gastonia, NC and enjoyed my job, but as with anything in the world, I was lacking the One thing necessary. Immediately upon this meditation an inspiration came to me: “It is not too late. Go and call her.” Now, ‘her’ I knew meant a Sister I had been in contact with recently in Alabama. She directed me to two communities. When I visited Rosary Hill Home, I was fortunate to receive a grace that I knew it was where God was calling me to be. Upon entering the community, I realized my entrance date was exactly a year from the day I had been in Rome praying before the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena at Santa Maria di Sopra Minerva. Upon making first vows I was blessed with her name as my patroness.