This is certainly a different kind of vocation story:
A former Portland City official took perpetual vows in November as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.
“My heart is filled with peace and joy as I make this lifelong commitment to follow Jesus and serve God’s people in need,” Sister Susan told the group of Sisters, family and friends gathered at the congregation’s chapel on the shores of Lake Washington. “Confident of God’s faithful love, I join my heart and life with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace as we seek peace through justice for our broken world.”
Sister Susan, 39, professed final vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience and intends to continue combatting human trafficking, abuse of immigrants and other problems. She’s a staffer at the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle and edits the organization’s journal.
“This is where I’m best able to use the gifts that God gave me, to best serve the world,” she told the Catholic Northwest Progress.
Born in Washington, D.C., Sister Susan attended Catholic elementary and high school in suburban Maryland. Finding the church irrelevant, she stopped practicing Catholicism at age 17. In 1994 she graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a degree in political science and history and eventually began work as elections officer and management analyst for Portland city government.
During her off hours, she volunteered at soup kitchens and a homeless shelter, and for a child-abuse hotline. Still, she didn’t feel fulfilled. Then a friend invited her to a function at St. Philip Neri.
“I will never forget going into St. Philip’s that day and sitting in that pew and just feeling like I was at home,” she told the Progress. The next Sunday, she decided to go to Mass, some 10 years after leaving the church.
About a year after getting active at the parish, while walking along an Oregon beach, the thought of becoming a Sister hit her. “It seemed really insane and crazy,” she told the Progress. “I wasn’t ready for it.”
Bless her. Ad multos annos!