Franciscan Sister Discernment Letters

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

July 03, 2015

While remembering the life of Sister Elora Schmidt, Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie shared letters revealing Sister’s discernment journey to perpetual vows. May young women today find meaning in their timeless value.

June 15, 1952

Dear Reverend Mother:

Franciscan Sister Elora5I have just graduated from high school and am thinking seriously about becoming a sister. I found a little information about your Community in a book entitled, “Guide to Catholic Sisterhoods in the United States.” Naturally this did not contain complete information.

 I would greatly appreciate it if you would send me some information about the rules and lives of your Sisters. I would like something that contains details such as: how often you can write letters, some of the states in which you have schools, visiting days, etc.

 I have never met one of your Sisters, so I am completely in the dark about your order and convent. Thank you.

Yours respectfully, Miss Margaret Schmidt

July 7, 1952

Dear Reverend Mother,

I received a letter a couple of weeks ago from Sister Mary Ellen. She suggested that I talk to Mr. and Mrs. Adrian about the life of your Sisters. She also sent some literature which I appreciated very much. After talking with the Adrians I was very much in favor of learning more about your order. As my father’s vacation is coming up, we are planning a trip to your Convent between the 16th and the 18th. If things work out like I am hoping, I will want to make arrangements to enter. I am looking forward to meeting you and seeing the Motherhouse.                                 Respectfully yours, Margaret Schmidt

June 1954

Franciscan Sister Elora6When I take my final vows I will be attaching myself intimately to God for time and eternity. An astounding thought, if Christ had not said, “You have not chosen me, I have chosen you.” Let’s consider first the word “Final.” I must not think of it as the end of something, because actually it marks the beginning of the life for which I have been preparing.

The word “vows” tells me that I am giving my all to God. It’s true I am giving Him my possessions, my body and my will, but after all I am only giving back to Him what He has already given to me. Is this such a sacrifice?

I will be starting out with a clean slate, abundant graces and sufficient talents. It will be my life’s work to not only keep that slate immaculate but to decorate it with virtues, to cooperate with the graces and to use the talents to help God’s teenagers to come a little closer to Him. Thus I will be giving to God the honor and glory He has a right to expect from me.

Franciscan Sister Elora2Naturally, God knows my many weaknesses. Despite that, He called me to follow Him very closely. He will be at my side, waiting to come to my aid whenever I call on Him. He will never disregard my plea for help.

 If I become discouraged, as human beings are sometimes inclined to do, there is one remedy that should always work. If I stop to meditate for just a few minutes on all that Christ has done for me, I will not be able to fail Him.

Christ’s part of the contract is: “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

My part is: “Let come what will come…Thy will is welcome.”

To read Sister Natalie’s complete reflection on Sister Elora’s life including letters of recommendation from others in her life, click here: Sister Elora’ Wake Reflection

For more information about the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, click here.


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