Franciscan Sister Mary Beth Kornely shares about a recent invitation to the Sisters serving in Greenwood, MS from a young woman to visit her Louisiana Catholic high school.
Our Community website invites others with the phrase “The World Needs You, God Calls You, We Invite You.” This invitation was turned around on Sister Annette, Mary Ann, Kathleen, Francis and Mary Beth in Greenwood with an invitation to come and visit a high school that we received from a young woman who has become acquainted with our Franciscan Community. As a result, our spring break turned into a trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, about a five hour trip south of us.
Even though we did have some time for a bit of site seeing, our main focus and energy was on “vocationing”. Our first full day began at 6:00 AM on the road in order to arrive for the start of classes at 7:10 am at the Catholic High School of over 750 students. The Campus Ministry Director led us to over a dozen religion classes throughout the day. We shared information about our community, told our vocation stories and answered questions from the 20 to 30 young people in each class. Sister Francis was the only one who had high school teaching experience and it was evident in the way she related to the students. The rest of us did what we could, wondering what would come out of our mouths as we walked into the front of each classroom. It was amazing how what we had to say came out different in every room; no planned script for sure. We certainly had to trust in the Lord that what we shared was what was needed to be heard in each room.
By the end of the day we were E & E – exhilarated and exhausted. Since we all have several decades behind us, we were curious on how the students reacted to our presence. The young lady who invited us shared that other religious communities usually have their young sisters visit the school. Regarding our visit, the students were grateful to hear and see religious who have lived out their commitment to religious life and to the Lord. Maybe those gray hairs are ok.
The next night we joined the youth group at the Catholic Parish in town. That experience was not quite as traumatic. Part of that time with those young people included an ice breaker where we got to know a little bit more about each other, our families, our favorite things, etc. (Sr. Kathleen cheated, according to the leader of the group; she only had to say one thing about herself instead of several things like the rest of us – but it was probably the best answer that anyone gave, “I love Jesus”.) The leader also asked us to share a God moment we have had during our life. Those always are touching.
This experience was truly a walk in faith, not knowing if any of our sharings would make a difference in the life of these young people. As amazing as this all was, we have told Sr. Julie Ann that she doesn’t have to worry about any of us wanting her job doing vocation work.