Monday, March 05, 2012

A Vocation Story: Sr. Jane Morrisey

My local newspaper, The Republican, recently ran a story on Sr. Jane Morrisey, a Sister of St. Joseph, who has done some very remarkable things in her lifetime. I always enjoy hearing how a religious person received her call from God. Here is her story:

Since childhood, I had an interior longing to give my life entirely to God. Yet, what did that mean to me as a child? I scarcely remember.

Romantic that I am, I believe that as a small child I pictured myself lighting the vigil lamps in some Greek temple. The Sisters of St. Joseph taught me in school, but I didn’t feel drawn to them. For one thing, I didn’t want to teach.

After graduating from the Elms, I was employed in the city I loved, the Big Apple, where at age 12 after a steamy stalled subway delay close to the Cloisters I had replaced my imagined Greek temple with a flowering medieval landscape in which I’d fallen in love with the Christ of the unicorn tapestries. As a newly minted graduate, I loved the vitality and opportunity of the city, but felt anonymous. Whatever my salary, my job at Equitable Life Assurance Society on the Avenue of the Americas felt sterile, I began applying for graduate school to study metaphysical poetry.

One summer noon at St. Patrick Cathedral after hearing the Gospel story of the rich young man who turned away from Jesus’ call and left sad, the call of my childhood emerged cloaked in immediacy. It gnawed at my plans to attend the University of Wisconsin.

Then one afternoon I left work in the company of my college friend Catherine Ormond and settled quietly into a bland sitting room near Columbia University. There I felt the vocational advice my former teacher Sister Patricia James Sweeney was giving her about entering the SSJs plunge into a void within me and lodge. On the trip to my Bay Ridge apartment, I missed the subway stop and ended up lost and bewildered at the end of the Coney Island line. Despite my resistance, that conversation created some new framework to the question of vocation. Why not try?

I started asking questions out loud. I began remembering all those who had suggested and lived the life of a Sister of Saint Joseph. Within weeks I started trying this life and I keep trying. It makes me happy.

Read the full interview with her here:

Learn more about the Sisters of St. Joseph:

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