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.

Helping Others Deepen Their Relationship With Christ

Sister Therese Ann Rich, an Ursuline Sister of Youngstown, works in a variety of ministries — all focused on helping others deepen their relationship with Christ.


While growing-up, Sister Therese Ann was surrounded by those who celebrated their faith daily, such as her aunt, a Humility of Mary Sister, and her uncle, an Alexian Brother.


In high school, Sister Therese Ann was banking on a career in accounting. But the Lord had another plan. And after her principal introduced her to two Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, Sister Therese Ann knew her life’s calling was to be a nun.



In this installment of Vocation Stories by the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, Sister Therese Ann shares her experience in her own words:


On her ministries:

It’s funny how God moves you in a variety of ways.


My major ministry is really this: to engage people in a deeper relationship with Christ. I’m a pastoral associate in a parish where I work with people who’ve lost a loved one. I do some Adult Education, I do some Religious Education with families. I’ve been teaching online with the Diocese [of Youngstown]. I’m also the IT person here at the community, so I maintain some websites and a Facebook page. Although I do a variety of things my ministry is very pointed, very specific in terms of our relationship with Christ.


On being inspired for the Sisters to build a labyrinth at their Canfield, Ohio, Motherhouse:

I had a lap labyrinth that I could use where I walked it with my fingers, and as I got to the center, it centered me in my prayer. Then I was able to let go of the anxieties or the concerns and actually begin to sit into the heart of God. The labyrinth is the metaphor for life’s journey. I thought to myself, “Gee, couldn’t we just do something here that would help someone or some group get in touch with who they are in relationship with God.


On being inspired to become an Ursuline Sister of Youngstown:

To be honest with you, I wanted to work in the finance world, but something kept tugging at me and tugging at me. The more I visited here, the more I realized I was more comfortable here and I felt more at home. I haven’t had a boring day. There’s something about hospitality and our concern for the poor – it’s more personal than corporate.


Do you or does someone you know want to be a nun? Here’s what Sister Therese Ann Rich says:

The invitation comes personally. It comes through relationships with people, it came personally through my family, and it came personally through my own prayer life.


If you’ve been thinking about service to the church and your heart’s being tugged, come talk to us. Come talk to a Sister. Come volunteer. By volunteering, you might know who we are.