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SISTER MARY RITA
Medicine Hat

My story: My Vocation to Carmel

My family lived across the street from our Sisters when I was very young. At the age of seven, I announced to my mother that “one day I would become a Sister, just like the ones across the street.” Then my family, mom, dad, my two brothers and I moved away from the area. At 14, I returned and visited our Sisters, one of the Sisters told me “one day you will be a Sister too.” I emphatically announced, “you will never get me in here”. But Sister knew best!

Years passed, I finished High School and worked as a bookkeeper and secretary. I enjoyed my work and the staff in the office at Weston Bakeries. I was very active in the Girl Guides and Brownies, I enjoyed camping, hiking and skating with these groups. I had wonderful friends and enjoyed life to the fullest. I took up square dancing, which was all the rage at the time. I dated, enjoyed dancing, movies, concerts and traveling with my family. However, as much as I enjoyed my work and activities the thought occurred to me that there was something more that I wanted to do with my life. I began to attend weekday Mass whenever possible. I hesitated to admit it but the thought of being a Sister had often crossed my mind. I phoned my girlfriend and said, “guess what, I’m going to enter the Convent.” She replied, “Are you feeling OK, you know your mother will never let you go.” I said, “ I felt that this is what I want to do with my life.” I knew that my mother would not approve of my vocation and she did have a very good reason.

When I was fourteen years old, I was very ill with nephritis (a serious kidney infection). At that time the doctors found it difficult to diagnose. I was hospitalized for two months and made a slow recovery. At seventeen, I had a relapse. Since that time my mother has been concerned about my health. Since then, I have been in good health. One day I told Mom of my plan for entering the convent. Even though I was 23 at the time, I felt that if my mom agreed with my entering, that it would be God’s Will. My mother said, “I will not agree, you know that you do not have the health to live the life of a religious.” I responded, “Mom, I will not go until you give your consent and until Dr. Knowlton agrees and he gives me a recommendation.” I made an appointment with our doctor, and he sent me for several tests, and said to come back in 10 days for his reply. I was praying all this time to my patron Saint Rita. I told her, “this sounds impossible but if God wants me to become a Sister then you can do it.” In 10 days, Dr. Knowlton assured me that I was in good health. The result of all my tests were negative, I was very happy and whispered a heartfelt prayer of gratitude. Now there was only one more obstacle to overcome. I decided to say nothing more to my mother, at present. I only hoped now that the Sisters would accept me. These were the Sisters of my childhood of course...The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus. Sister M. Anne answered the door and the Mother Superior was very kind. We even fixed a date for my entrance – September 1st. This was March of the same year. I continued my prayers to Saint Rita. It was a simple plea. One Saturday in May when we were eating lunch together, Mom said, “Do you still want to enter the convent?” When I replied, “yes” She said, “Then I won’t stand in your way.” I was so very grateful, I was the only girl, and this was a great sacrifice for her. Now after over 50 years, I am as grateful as I was the day to Our lord, for my vocation as a Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus.

My life has been one of happiness and peace in His Love.

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