Overflowing Gratitude

By Sister Nancy Pawlen

“The great use of life is to spend it for something which outlasts it.” — William James(1842-1910), Father of American Psychology 

sister-nancy-pawlen1As a young Sister working on my B.S. in Elementary Education (from 1965-1970), I was very much drawn to that quote. Reflecting on its meaning, I thought that its truth connected well with Jesus’ words: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find life.” (Matthew, 16:25)

Throughout my 50 years as an Ursuline, that quote by James and the words of Jesus have been key parts of my automatic guidance system — inspiring and encouraging me in all circumstances.

Of course, there are other significant aspects of my life’s guidance system: St. Angela’s life and words,
the examples of the saints, contemporaries who “pay it forward,” the unconditional love of family and friends, and the gift of my Ursuline Sisters, who share life and ministry with me.

How can I not be filled with overflowing gratitude as I live this Jubilee year? I remember the children I taught in my 40+ years in education. I see the faces of teachers and music ministers with whom I served. I delight in looking through photos of past achievements, celebrations, and times of vacation. In my imagination, I hear the voices of those who taught or affirmed me.

Some people have remarked that I have given up so much to live the calling of an Ursuline Sister. Looking back 50 years, I’d have to say that the blessings Jesus promised those who give up so much for “his sake” certainly have been bestowed upon me.

In spending my life for others, God has given me the “abundant life” in the here and now. What a wonderful foretaste of that which is to come!

Heartfelt Gratitude

By Sister Mary Alyce Koval


And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’ So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

From “Gate of the Year” by Minnie Louise Haskins

I first became acquainted with this poem when I recited it as a student at Ursuline High School. At 16 years old, the only doors I knew were those that opened to homes and classrooms.

After entering the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown following graduation, it didn’t take long to realize that there were more doors to new adventures in my life than I could ever imagine. In my 50 years as an Ursuline Sister, I would learn very quickly to put “my hand into the Hand of God” and to “trod gladly” into the new adventures ahead of me.

From my years of classroom teaching, to more than 30 years of elementary school administration, to the opportunities to serve in leadership in the Ursuline Community, to the women and children whose lives have touched me in the past seven years at Beatitude House, I reflect often on the students, teachers, Sisters and friends who have been such an integral part of the confidence with which I “trod gladly into the night.”

Classroom stories, administrative challenges, community blessings, and the daily struggles of the poor are the tangible hands of God for me as I greet each “breaking of day” with thanksgiving. My heart is filled with gratitude.

It’s No Wonder

By Sister Diane Toth

dscn0631When you have parents and grandparents who believe in serving and helping others, you have an opportunity to follow in their footsteps. Add to that a family history of centering around the church community, and the vocation has a fertile field.

I am amazed at how I learned of God’s call. It happened while I was standing on a corner waiting for my mother to pick me up following an after-school meeting. It happens in ordinary moments and is quiet as a gentle breeze. The thought of being a sister popped in my head from nowhere. The call is a mystery. It is there for you if you pause and listen. Talk to God about it. God is there all the time. Listen and ask for God’s input. God will let you know how to serve.

In the last 50 years, I was blessed to meet people of all ages. Working with children as a teacher, I was taught the meaning of the scripture, “Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

As a social worker I encounter young adults and people in the final time of life’s journey. God is there in the pain and the joys. God has taken many of my ordinary experiences with people and transformed them into “Awesome encounters.”

One afternoon, an older woman in a nursing home repeatedly called for help even though she did not need help. A chaplain talked to her and read scripture. When the chaplain left, the older woman again took up calling out — but in a calmer voice saying, “God loves me, God loves me.”

Look for God in the eyes of others and in your own.

Sister Diane is one of three Sisters celebrating their 50th anniversaries, or Golden Jubilees, as Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown in 2016.

Wake Up The World This Summer

Community Partner AwardPope Francis wrote a letter to Sisters, Brothers,and Priests who have dedicated their lives to the Gospel to join with others to “Wake Up The World”!

These words from our Pope remind me of words we Ursulines have from our Foundress, St. Angela Merici: “Act, Move, Believe, Strive, Hope, cry out with all your heart, for without doubt you will see marvelous things, if you direct everything to the praise and glory of God and the good of souls”! St. Angela also thinks we can wake up the world with the help of many others.

Consider joining us this summer in a variety of service opportunities and find out for yourself. Come to the Orientation on Monday, May 18 at 7:00 PM to get started.

Contact Sister Norma at 330-261-4729 for more information.

National Catholic Sisters Week

National Catholic Sisters Week-March 8-14: to ignite a movement around the lives and the contributions of Catholic sisters
norma“Wherever good things are happening, there are likely to be Sisters involved,” states the proposal from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, calling for a national campaign to boost awareness of women religious. Rosemarie Nassif, SSND, director of The Catholic Sisters Initiative, launched in February 2013 by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, was inspired by her experience as a university president to fold that campaign into the well-established Women’s History Month.  Sister Rosemarie fashioned a three-year grant to propose a specific plan to raise the visibility of women religious.
This resulted in a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, which plans to bring national visibility to the contributions of women religious, whose far-reaching work on the frontlines of social change, women’s leadership, healthcare, education and the Church remains relatively unknown. A key initiative of the three-year project will be the launch of National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14, 2014, as part of Women’s History Month.
The ultimate goal is to create “fertile ground” to help more young women consider a call to religious life. “Will this mean that thousands of women will enter religious life? No, probably not,” Sister Rosemarie says. “But we’ve got to offer a chance. Even if women are inspired to live their lives differently outside the convent, the effort will be worthwhile.”
The intent is to ignite a movement around the lives and the contributions of sisters in ways that inspire girls and women to picture themselves among the ranks of these women religious. Molly Dever Hazelton and Mary Soher, OP, were named co-executive directors. Hazelton is a professor of library and information science at St. Catherine’s University; Soher, of Henderson, NV, has been a member of the Adrian Dominicans since 1996.
Want to get involved and honor sisters during the week? Some ideas are below:
• Contact Sister Norma Raupple [330.792.7636] to coordinate a tour or volunteer activity at an Ursuline ministry
• Ask our sisters to share their stories
• Join us for Mass and Dinner
• Choose a saint who was a sister to be your patron for the month of March – study her and pray for her intercession

When Things of Life Are Not Enough: Are You Being Called to Become A Nun?

Sister Nancy Dawson with YSU studentsDo you sense something missing in life? Is your work or life situation not meaningful enough despite your accomplishments and possessions? Could it be that the difference you make when you are helping people in need feels more life-giving than your work week? Do you feel more authentic when you give of yourself to help others? PAY ATTENTION! Perhaps you are being called to find purpose in life in another way, to do more with your life. These thoughts are ways in which God invites us to be and do “more” by becoming a Catholic religious sister or nun.

Introducing the idea of becoming a nun or sister may seem extreme to some and may even scare someone away. Being called was even startling for Mary. St. Luke writes that she was “deeply troubled,” and asked questions – wouldn’t you? This calling comes as a surprise to many. Most people can not envision themselves as a religious and most likely don’t know about the richness of a Catholic religious life vocation. Many think themselves unworthy of such a calling. Yet, women and men would not have been guided to explore this life had God not known what they would find there. For people with the courage to respond, it becomes a calling they will never regret answering.

How can you understand what God is calling you to do with your gifts when this unsettling feeling keeps surfacing? First, this feeling is how God gets our attention – it’s a nudge to peak our interest. Find time and space for private prayer where you can talk with God about these feelings and the purpose for your life.

Seeking your path through prayer will open the doors to a deeper understanding of the meaning of life and, with time, clarity will show the path God wishes you to choose. The most exciting part of our life here on earth is the uniqueness God has planned for each individual life. True fulfillment of your purpose in life is reached by building an ever deepening personal relationship with God. To accept God as your guide, you must open yourself up to God’s graces. As you move through this experience you realize the great love you are being gifted with. It is a love that has always been there for you. You will begin to understand God’s special call for you to love others as God loves you.

Devoting your entire life to God’s work ultimately requires living with God at the center of your life. It’s not always easy, yet living in tune with God’s desires for you ultimately leads to joy and happiness. This journey fills you with unbelievable love and quiet resolve in using your special gifts in a liberating, healing and compassionate way. And, you will be filled with a sense of belonging in community as you pray together.

The life of a Catholic nun or sister can take many twists and turns but one thing you can count on is that the purpose of your life as a religious will become very clear as God inspires you to help others. As told in the Bible, St. Luke spent most of his life following St. Paul and the other disciples as a doctor spreading the good news. Little did he know he would go on to write the books of Luke and Acts which make up almost one third of the New Testament. Following God’s guidance can take you on many unexpected and exciting journeys.

As you explore your purpose in life, continue to place your faith in Christ, and understand the significance of your decision to walk with Christ. When in prayer with God, always remember to stop and listen. Christ will reveal himself to you when you are ready. God has given everyone a passion for life, and will use yours to make a better world, if you allow him to. Consider becoming a Catholic sister, brother or priest.

My Joyful Life As A Catholic Nun

Sheila Triplet, Sister Betty Schuster, Sister Mary Alyce KovalBy Sister Mary Alyce Koval [far right in photo]
I never really thought about being a nun until I was in high school. I started to develop relationships with some of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown who were teachers. Eventually I thought, “This is a fun group of women to be a part of!”

I knew there was a joy in their life, prayerfulness in their life, and I liked to be around them.

So here I am, almost 50 years later, and I am one of them! The fact that I am energized every day when I go to work keeps me going.

I was involved in education for over 40 years. I was a teacher for a few years, then I moved into administration and I was a principal in various elementary schools. I dearly loved it.

For the last three years, I’ve been involved at Beatitude House. I’m the education director for the program, which means that I’m responsible for making sure that each of the women in our program has an education plan.

It’s been a real joy. It’s been a blessing to work with them. I have learned so much from the women in hearing their stories and helping them to refocus their lives and aim for something higher.

For any woman thinking about becoming a nun, I would encourage you to establish a relationship with a Sister or group for Sisters. Spend time with them, not just in prayer. Most people think we pray all day but we have very busy lives! Share meals with them. Do things socially with them.

I think the core relationship that has to be established is the relationship with God. I think God can work miracles in people’s hearts and minds. Keep that communication open through prayer – not just formal prayer, but in spending time with the Lord and listening to the Lord’s side of the conversation. Listen to what Jesus is instilling in your heart to move you forward in your journey.

If you believe you are being called to become a nun, give us a call at 330.301.6891 and we can help you discern God’s call.

Becoming a Nun: Best Path for You?

Best path?You don’t have to choose religious life to become deeply spiritual, loving human beings.
But becoming a nun  could be you best path toward living a deeply spiritual life,  so I encourage you  to consider it. There is something to be said about the disciplines and expectations of religious life. Nuns/Sisters usually have a community encouraging us toward the practices that build strong Christians: regular prayer and reflection, sacraments, and a spirit of “ministry” to accompany our work. So, how do you know if this is the best path?

Listen to God. Pay attention to your heart. If you’re inclined to throw in your hat with a group of nuns/ sisters–go for it! It can be a great life. Along with all the good, you’ll have bad days, bad months maybe, but that’s because you’re human. Be the best human being you can be, and along the way you will know God’s joy. Because joy comes from a life well-lived. You will find God’s peace because you will be living your calling.

In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, novelist Milan Kundera meditates on the mystery of making choices in life: “Human life only occurs once, and the reason we cannot determine which of our decisions are good and which bad is that in a given situation we can make only one decision; we are not granted a second, third, or fourth life in which to compare various decisions.”

No, we cannot rewind our lives like a video and undo the consequences of choosing badly or not choosing at all. That’s why discernment, the prayerful consideration of life choices, is essential. Pray and think and consult with others about big decisions in your life, including the possibility of becoming a nun. It might take your whole life to get really good at discernment. So it’s a skill and a habit worth cultivating early.

As the Catholic catechism tells us, our life’s purpose is to find the best way to love and serve God. If religious life is your best way, congratulations!

Give us a call-330. 301.6891 or Email us and we would be happy to journey with you.

Is God Calling Me To Be A Nun?

Several times a week, we encounter young women asking that very question. With each encounter we ask the young woman:
Do you experience…….
A Desire to live simply
• An Ability to relate with a variety of   people, to be happy alone or in a group
• A Joy in serving others in any outreach or   parish involvement
• Generosity of heart, time and talent
• An Ability to listen to others and accept direction when needed

A Desire to love expansively rather than needing an intimate relationship with one person
• A Desire to grow in union with God through prayer and service of the needy

Then, God may be calling you to become a nun.
The call to religious life, the call to be a nun, is always marked by a desire to serve God and God’s people, to care for the needy and to bring people to experience God’s love. But, since ministry is a part of every vocation, service is not the distinguishing characteristic of a call to consecrated life as a member of a religious community. The uniqueness of the call to be a nun, the call to religious life is living the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in community. The essential service of the religious is to witness to all the faithful that each of us is called to treat things, persons and our own self with respect and as ultimately belonging to God.

At the heart of the call to religious life is a desire to give oneself in love to God in a way so total that the pursuit of union with God makes it impossible for anything or anyone to be more central. One becomes unavailable for marriage.

If you believe you are being called to be a nun, give us a call [330. 301.6891] and we can help you discern God’s call.

How Do I Know God Is Calling Me To Be A Nun?

How do I know if God is calling me to become a nun? Many young people ask this very question; in fact I asked it myself not very long ago. The answer is not something you can find and define in a simple way. It is a mystery.
I asked a friend once, “So, how do you know?” She promptly said, “You will know it when you know it.” That was not the answer I was hoping for, but by all accounts, she was right. The answer will come and you will know it, you just have to determine if you’re willing to find it. For me, I wanted clarity and I felt God was not delivering. Then I realized to understand the call I had to pay attention.
One of the first things you can do is simply pray. You would be amazed how prayer can help you sort out the cobwebs of a searching soul. With all the noise and demands of life, just taking time out to be quiet and talk to God is a big step in the discernment process.
Through my prayer I found I wanted to be alone with God. I could hear Jesus’ words, as if directly to me, “Come follow me.” There were times when I doubted or was unsure, but God always led the way.
Eventually it was apparent when in both my prayer and through my loved ones, God’s message was, “It was I who chose you, you do not choose me.” No matter what I did or where I looked, that message came to me. The words of my friend came back to me, “You will know it when you know it.” As many times as I found myself hanging up on God (which I did literally), through attentiveness, prayer and investigation, I began to trust that God’s call was as genuine for me as it is for anyone.
So, how do you know if you are being called? Start by reflecting on these questions:
Do I find myself wondering if there is more to life?
Do I have a desire to know God more deeply and give my whole self to him?
Am I drawn to pray and participate in the liturgy?
Do I take an active role in the life of the Church?
Do I feel called to live out the Gospel?
Do I desire to live a simple lifestyle?
Do I feel called to share life, ministry and faith with others?
Do I value the multicultural abundance in our world?
Am I concerned with the unmet needs of others, especially the poor and those treated unjustly?
Do I believe I can live the life of a religious sister or nun?
Do I think I can live a life of continual conversion?
Do I believe we can do more together than alone?
Do I want a challenging life lived with deep satisfaction and love?
If you answer “yes” to many of these questions, God may be calling you to religious life.
Give us a call. We are happy to journey with you.

What Do Nuns Do For Recreation?

In the latest installment of our continuing video series Ask A Nun, Sister Nancy Dawson, General Superior of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, answers the question “What do nuns do for recreation?”

Sister Nancy Dawson:

Well, this is what I like…. I like movies, and because I teach World Religions I try to see all of the movies that are up for Academy Awards. I take a cup of coffee from McDonald’s, I put it in my pocket, and then I go to the theater and take my time to drink the coffee and see all of the movies that are up for the Academy Award.

I like water, so I often go to Conneaut and spend time reflecting on the psalm [42] “Like a deer longs for the running water.”

Once a year I need to be energized, so I go to New York City at Christmastime. It is a wonderful way to see Christ in all the beauty and the Arts that are in the City.

I also love the ocean, and once a year I go to the ocean with someone in my family or with close friends.

But the greatest relaxation and recreation I have is being with the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown at the lunch or dinner table to be able to share our lives, and our stories, and our hopes, and our dreams about our own mission and ministry of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown.

It’s a great life, and I’ve never been bored!

Contact the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown at [email protected] or 330-792-7636.

Religious Tolerance

In our continuing video series Ask A Nun, Sister Nancy Dawson, General Superior of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, answers the question “What are your attitudes toward other religions?”



Sister Nancy Dawson:

Well, I’m an instructor at YSU [Youngstown State University] in the Philosophy and Religion Department., and I would have to say that my idea of other religions is the idea that we have more in common thank we have differences.

And I really enjoy the students – who come from all ages, ethnic backgrounds, religious backgrounds, racial backgrounds – and I try to show them the commonality and invite them to open their hearts to hear the beliefs and the stories, and the rituals, and the community life of all of these other religions, and to share their symbols and their artifacts.

I also try to teach them that when they respond to differences they can do that in a non-violent way and without dualistic thinking that one is right, and one in wrong. I teach them that God can be named many things from many different religions – Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Brahman — but that we need to listen to their stories no matter what name we give to that reality.

I find teaching a wonderful way to positively influence young people today and I never cease to become a learner in those classes from the students I teach. Truly, I learn a great deal from them and I’m very grateful for the gifts they give to me and for the gifts God give me to give to them.

Wonderful question, thank you!

Contact the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown at [email protected] or 330-792-7636.

What Did Your Parents Say When You Told Them You Wanted to Be A Nun?

In the latest installment of our continuing video series Ask A Nun, Sister Nancy Dawson, General Superior of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, answers the question “What did your parents say when you told them you wanted to enter the Convent?”

Sister Nancy Dawson:

I’m Sister Nancy Dawson, an Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, Ohio, and the question for today is: “What did my parents say when I told them I wanted to go to the Convent?

Well, I started to ask the question of myself with a spiritual director, Father Malone, and at that time I was only about 17 or 18, right after high school.

And when I asked my dad, who was not Catholic, if I could go — or should go — to the Convent, he said, “Well, why don’t you wait until you’re 21. Sometimes people don’t have a brain in their head until they get a little bit older.”

So at 21, I went back and said to my dad, “I think I really want to be a nun!” And my dad gave me his blessing. My mother, of course who was Catholic and my primary role model, she loved to say the rosary, and I think she was responsible for my entering the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown.

I would also say that the Sisters who taught me in grade school at Immaculate [Conception] and at Ursuline High School were an incredible influence on my life. They were always happy. They were always generous. They were compassion.

I was put out of school twice and they took me back, and I thought that was a miracle that they performed.

And so I’m very happy that I’m an Ursuline Sisters today. And I hope that God will continue to bless our community with young people who would come into our life, which is a really exciting and wonderful encounter with Jesus and with all those that we serve.

Contact the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown at [email protected] or 330-792-7636.

What Makes an Ursuline Sister Different From Other Sisters?

Welcome to our “Ask a Nun” series. Today, Sister Norma discusses what makes an Ursuline Sister different from other sisters.

All Catholic Orders of Nuns are structured in the same way according to the requirements of the Catholic Church. Each group however is unique because of the time and place and reason for why the community was founded.

Ursuline Sisters have St. Angela Merici as our founder. She gathered a group of women in 1535 in Brescia, Italy and formed a group of women under the name of St. Ursula. St. Angela believed that women could live holy lives expressed in service to those in need without living in convents. Although the women did not live together they gathered regularly as a community. This model of community still prospers today as the Company of St. Ursula, a Secular Institute in the Church.

A parallel model soon emerged in Italy when St. Charles Borromeo, was bishop in Milan. The Ursulines, known as the Order of St. Ursula, became an official religious order in the Church, similar to all other orders. Although the Youngstown Ursulines serve mainly in Northeast Ohio there are women who have their origins in St. Angela all over the world today.

Do All Nuns Have to Live in A Convent?

Welcome to our “Ask a Nun” series. Today, Sister Norma discusses a question we received from several readers: “Do all nuns have to live in a convent?”

Many nuns live in a convent where there is a chapel and other rooms that are shared for daily living activities such as the kitchen,dining room, laundry rooms, living rooms. Space similar to space shared by a family.

There are various living arrangements. Some nuns live in larger convents of twenty sisters or more and may share some responsibilities together.

Some Sisters live together in small groups.They share the responsibility for daily activities such as cooking and cleaning. They make time to pray together even though there may not be a chapel in the home.
There are situations where sisters live alone-at least for a time. A Sister may be serving in a location where there are no other sisters nearby.

A Sister may choose to live alone for personal reasons. This can be arranged through communication with the Community. Even though a Sister may be living alone in an apartment, she
remains connected to the larger Ursuline Community through her relationships with other Sisters and by attending the regular Community gatherings.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in a Convent?

Welcome to our “Ask a Nun” series. Today, Sister Norma discusses some advntages and disadvantages of living in a convent.

A convent is a house where a group of Sisters share their lives and their space with each other. There is a chapel in the central part of the house because our relationship with God is the center of our lives.

The convent where I live is in Canfield, Ohio where there are 30 of us Ursuline Sisters living together. I see many more advantages for living in a convent than disadvantages:I have a spacious private room which looks out on the woods. I often enjoy the sunrise from my window. At the same time, I enjoy the presence and interaction of other women of faith -women of all ages.Their support and encouragement helps me to maintain a healthy, happy life.Our life style is simple and fulfilling as we gather for prayer and Eucharist and spend time together when we are not engaged in ministry.

At times, I experience the schedule as a disadvantage. For example, the individual sister does not choose the schedule for prayer and meals. The schedule is determined by everyone talking together and deciding what is best for the group life.

How to Get to Know a Religious Community

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Sister Mary McCormick offers some questions to think about when searching for a Religious Community.

Sometimes when people think about becoming a nun they are familiar with one or more religious communities. Other times, people feel called, but don’t even know any nuns.

I suggest that you do a little thinking and a little exploring when you want to begin to enter into the process more deeply.

If you were dating someone, you might liken it to the “getting to know you phase.”

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you interested in serving the church in an area close to where you currently live?
  • Or, would you prefer to be part of a group that serves all over the country and maybe all over the world?
  • Are you interested in a small group?
  • Or would you like to be part of a large group?
  • Do you have a special ministry in mind? If so, you might seek out a community that specializes in that service? Or,
  • Are you open to a variety of ways to serve God’s people?

I encourage you to do some investigation – on line and in person by visiting some communities.

Good luck with the process

Please submit your questions to [email protected]

Three Questions to Consider In the Process for Becoming a Nun

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos.  Sister Mary McCormick begins by kind of stating the obvious. There are 3 prerequisites that need to be established before you can even begin thinking about it seriously. Sister Mary will put these in a series of questions.

First, are you Catholic? There are nuns in other religions (Buddhism, for example) and in other Christian denominations (the Church of England). But in the western world, the vast majority of nuns are Catholic. This includes nuns who are part of other “rites” of the church, like Byzantine or Maronite and nuns who are part of the Orthodox church.

Second, are you single and free from any other life commitments? The expectation of the Church and religious communities is that, if you enter a particular community, you will live with the group and commit your life in service to God with them. So you need to be single. That being said, people always have a question about those who are divorced. I will come back to that later.

Third, do you have dependent children? Again, the church and the community will expect that you dedicate you entire life to God. If you have children who are dependent on you for parental or financial support, that is your primary task in life right now. Once children are at an age where they no longer need your parental and financial support, if you are single, you might consider religious life again.

Once those questions are answered with 2 “yeses” and a “no” you can begin to move to the next step.

Please submit your questions to [email protected]

What Do You Do in Your Spare Time?

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Today’s questioner wonders if nuns have any spare time and what do they do with that spare time. Sister Norma Raupple shares her answer.

What do you do in your spare time?

There is not usually too much spare time after you have done your laundry,  and cleaned your room or help another sister with a task. I spend time with my Mother …take her shopping and for rides and bring her to have dinner with us.

I always enjoy going for a walk especially in nice weather.  I watch birds with my binoculars and try to identify bird songs.

We are fortunate to have a condo near Lake Erie. This is my favorite place to go to spend a week in the summer or a long weekend any time of year.

I like to listen to NPR radio

I like to relax by playing cards or  Dominos with a group after supper

I enjoy having lunch with  a friend once in a while.

Please submit your questions to [email protected]

Is Life as a Nun Restrictive in Regards to Hobbies?

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Today’s questioner wonders if convent life is restrictive or can nuns choose their own hobbies. Sister Norma Raupple shares her answer.

No,  the Sisters have as many different hobbies as there are Sisters. Sisters use to visit Lorraine Music as they can check latest updates about games and music here.

  • Sisters play games on the computer
  • Listen to music on their iPods
  • Walk  and exercise
  • They Do needlework  and make cards
  • A few Paint in acrylics and watercolors
  • Sisters take care of a vegetable gardens and flower gardens
  • They enjoy nature in many ways.

I  like to spend time outdoors  and observe the birds. I also like to play games in a small group and talk on the phone with friends and my family.  Sister’s hobbies are as unique as each sister.

Please submit your questions to [email protected]

Does Life in the Convent Ever Become Boring?

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Today’s questioner wonders if life is ever boring for a nun. Sister Norma Raupple shares her answer.

I speak for myself in saying that I have never been bored with convent  life. Most of us have to decide how we are going to get everything done that we have planned to do. There is always something going on… something to do… somewhere  to go … someone to help…

I sometimes  decide to stay home and take  some quiet time for myself instead of filling up my week with activity.

Please submit your questions to [email protected]

A Question About the Habit

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Today’s question focuses on the habit worn by nuns. Sister Norma Raupple shares her answer.

Are you happy about he changed guidelines about the dress code; not having to wear the old garments?

Yes, the long habits at one time were like the common dress of the day.  There was not such thing as central heating so for much of the year women needed to dress as warmly as possible.  But our homes are warm now,  women are more active and so clothing changed.

Our founder, St. Angela Merici , said: “You may find that you need to change with the times.”  … So we did, we wear simple but comfortable clothes.

Usually we don’t stand out in a crowd the way we would if we were wearing the habit. Many people can still recognize a nun by her simple clothes.

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Why Did You Become a Nun?

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Today’s question focuses on why Sister Norma became a nun. Sister Norma Raupple shares her answer.

I was 18 years old when I decided to become a nun.  My parents were close to the Church and generous, service-oriented Catholics.   I joined the Ursuline Sisters because these were the nuns I got to know as I was growing up.  I spent time with them  and I liked being around them. I  found them to be happy, contented women and I could see that they were doing something meaningful with their lives.  I knew they loved God and loved what they were doing as teachers.  I too wanted to be happy and to grow in my love of God and be able to serve others. Today, women get to know nuns in many different settings in addition to schools and hospitals. You may meet a Sister in your parish, in some peace and justice project you are interested in, or while participating in a missionary experience.

Please submit your questions to [email protected]

Why Become a Nun?

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Today’s question focuses on what motivates a woman to become a nun. Sister Norma Raupple shares her answer.

In a call from God to become a nun there are found two desires: The first desire is to give oneself totally to God.  To respond to God’s love  by centering one’s life on this personal relationship with God.  The second desire is to dedicate oneself to help others know and love God Through loving  service  one works with God in spreading the kingdom The purpose of becoming a nun is to find in your heart these two desires. We have the example and vision of our Founder, St. Angela Merici.  She lived out these two desires in her life in northern Italy in the 16th century.

Please submit your questions to [email protected]

At What Age Are Women Entering the Ursuline Sisters?

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Today’s question focuses on the age of women becoming an Ursuline Sister. Sister Norma Raupple shares her answer.

Women enter the Ursuline Sisters at all ages…one of our newer members one was in her twenties and she joined while she was still in college.  Another woman was in her forties and she already had her master’s degree and had been teaching for a while.  She met the Ursulines when she came to Youngstown to give a year of service with the poor.   The third one was a nurse and she had already raised her two children when she met the Ursulines.  She found herself single again and was eligible to join the community.

Please submit your questions to [email protected]

At What Age Can a Woman Become a Nun?

Welcome to our “Ask The Nun” series of informal videos. Today’s question focuses on the age requirement for becoming a nun. Sister Norma Raupple shares her answer.

A woman needs to be  least 18 years old before applying to join the discernment process.  It’s good to have some life experience as a young adult… either going to college or working at a job for a while. During these years  there are many ways to be in contact with Sisters.  There are opportunities to get to know a group of Sisters and for the Sisters to get to know you… before you actually become a member of the community.     Women today are finding that they are attracted to becoming a nun later in life. One can become a nun at almost any age.

Please submit your questions to [email protected]