How I Became a Franciscan Sister

Paul Keggington

May 27, 2013

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Renita Tadych reminisces on her vocation to be a consecrated woman religious.

When I was asked during my grade school years, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” my standard answer would be, “Either an opera singer or a Sister!” That was quite a range. It is easy to tell which one became a reality.

Franciscan-Sister-RenitaOn a hot Sunday morning in August, I was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Anita Broecker Tadych and Zenon Tadych. I have two younger sisters, Dorothy and Caroline (Kitty). My mother died when I was three years old. Some years later my father remarried, and we were blessed with Lillian, “our Mom,” and LaVerne, another sister.

My education began at St. Mary’s School where all the classes were taught in Polish. The Felician Sisters allowed me to start school early. I was five in August, and I entered the first grade in September. In March of the second grade, we moved to the north side of town. I finished the second grade at St. Mary’s and attended Sacred Heart from 3rd through 8th grade where I had the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. I had wanted to go to the convent right out of 8th grade, but my parents felt that I was too young. They told me I had to wait until I had gone to at least one year of high school. I went to Woodrow Wilson Junior High for the 9th grade. As a sophomore I entered the convent, and I was so excited that I had chosen the Lord. Since I have entered religious life, my primary goal has been to be the “best” Sister I can be. It is still my primary goal.

Franciscan-Sister-Renita-remembers-with-joyThe Sister who made the greatest impression on me was Sister Francis George Leibfried. She was the principal at Sacred Heart the whole time I attended school there, and she was my 7th and 8th grade teacher. Later in the convent, she was the Directress when we were Junior Sisters, in the Perpetual Vow Group, and when we were Tertians (10 year members). By her example, she taught us what was needed to become good religious.

My main apostolate has been teaching. I have taught in seven states: Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, California, Illinois, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, and I went to school in Missouri and Pennsylvania. A combination of 32 years in elementary and high school plus 20 years in college have stretched me to do things I had never dreamed of and gave me opportunities to become what I am today.

My teaching years have been enhanced by the provisions made for me to continue my education. Having obtained a BA from Holy Family Franciscan-Sister-Renita-and-familyCollege, an MA from Dayton University, and a PhD from Indiana University of Pennsylvania has broadened my knowledge base and enabled me to share much more with my students through the years. However, during these experiences, I learned that what you are is much more important than what you know.

Today because of ill health I am considered to be “semi-retired.” However, I stay active by tutoring the International Sisters who live with us, by cataloguing books for the library, and by working at the switchboard periodically. I live here at the Motherhouse, and I treasure our Sisters and our Community. Even though we come from many different backgrounds, we know that we can depend on each other and that each one of us cares about the others.

For a long time I believed that I had chosen the Lord. But as time went on, I realized that I had not chosen the Lord; He had chosen me! “He set his seal upon my heart” and guided me every step of the way. He will always be there, and with his help I will continue to strive to be the “best” religious He wants me to be. To do this I need to be faithful, true, and ever grateful that the Lord has chosen me.

The world needs you. God calls you. We invite you to consider our July 14-16, 2013 Vocation Discernment Retreat. Click here to learn more.