What is a Franciscan Life of Consecration

Paul Keggington

August 12, 2010
White Mountain Apache Tribal Member Sister Pascalita

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, Sister Pascalita Velasquez, OSF, the only White Mountain Apache Tribal Member to dedicate her life to God as a consecrated woman religious, writes about the beginnings of her call from God.

Our life as Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity is a response of love to God’s call. Our relationship to Christ and His Church gives our life meaning.

Further, our life of religious consecration is mystery. It is lived and known only through faith. It has its basis in Scripture ( e.g. Mk 1:16-20; Mk 2:13-14; Jn 1: 36-39)). It is a gift of God to the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Sister Pascalita Velasquez, OSF, the only White Mountain Apache Tribal Member called to be a consecrated woman religious, left in her personal items a hand-written reflection of her vocation story that was shared after her death on August 7, 2010. She was professed 63 years at the age of 82. The contents are shared here in hopes of giving one Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity’s  awareness of Jesus Christ’s call and her understanding of a life of consecration.

It has been 48 years since I accepted the wonderful invitation to serve the Lord. I cannot say that I thought of becoming a nun when I was real small. It all began when I was a sophomore at St. John’s Boarding School in Komatke, Laveen, Arizona. My life at St. Johns and my contact with the Sisters went on for me very normally. I attended classes and helped with the work assigned me, went to daily Mass and took part in other activities observing the dedicated lives of the Sisters and my daily contact with them was what brought on the strong desire to dedicate my life to God.

Franciscan Sister Pascalita and family membersThe thought of becoming a Sister came to me one day in a very strange way as I was sitting alone on a bench waiting for a friend who went to fetch something to munch on. While I was waiting, I saw a Sister run across the yard. I believe it was Sister Rita Forgach. When I saw Sister rushing to her work, I thought how wonderful it must be to work for the Lord. When this Sister disappeared in the building, I continued sitting on the bench in deep thought and looking up at the sun rays coming through a tamarick tree. It was at this moment like a spark of fire, I thought of giving my life to the Lord. The rays coming through the tamarick tree, which is still very clear in my mind, I feel was the presence of the Lord inviting me to follow Him. I accepted this invitation and made known my wish and desire to the Sisters. They were happy and helped to keep alive this spark of wonderful inspiration in me with their prayers and encouragement.

I entered on December of 1945. The forty seven years I have been striving to serve the Lord were worthwhile and happy ones. There were times I was not perfect but through His mercy and love, I continued to serve Him in teaching and doing whatever jobs assigned me. I’m grateful and feel very privileged to have served Him this far and with His help I shall continue on. The little spark of fire at the beginning can only be ignited into a big fire of love in His service with loyalty to my three vows and prayer life. It takes great courage and a great deal of generosity to join up in His service. He needs help and I feel it is a great privilege to be called to lend Him a helping hand and always be ready to answer, “Yes, Lord, here I come,” when He calls.

Franciscan Sister Pascalita teaching children at San Xavier Mission School

Consider a discernment retreat. 

Read Sister Louise’s reflection on Sister Pascalita’s life

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