Ask a Postulant: How Were You Called to Be a Franciscan Sister

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

September 08, 2019

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Postulant Mary Jane (Frances:)!) responds to our latest ‘Ask a Postulant’ question.

How were you called to become a Franciscan Postulant?

I was born in Brandon, Wisconsin and when I was four years old my family moved to L’Anse, Michigan. I’m the tenth child of twelve. I have six brothers and five sisters. Since I was a little girl I have always felt a strong calling to enter the religious life. It wasn’t a serious desire until I was a junior in high school. I first looked at the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor. I went on two retreats and really enjoyed it but I didn’t feel like it was the right convent so I went to college for a degree in Elementary Education. I graduated from Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, Michigan with an Associate’s Degree and then I transferred to Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. I left after about a year and lived at home, where I continued to look at different religious orders and I became a substitute teacher for the public schools and the Catholic school in L’Anse.

It was December 2017 before Christmas; while I was reading my emails I noticed an email from a priest friend, Father Ben Hasse. He was in charge of Totus Tuus, a summer catechesis program, and he was looking for volunteers. I wrote him back that I was interested and began filling out the paper work. I was finished around February and as I talked with Father Ben I became very excited to have the opportunity to meet other college students who are enthusiastic about the Catholic faith. I also looked forward to traveling around the Upper Peninsula teaching children about the faith. It was the first parish where my team was doing Totus Tuus that I met Sister Jacqueline Spaniola. She was a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity and she started to talk to me about her order and asked if I was interested in coming to the next Come and See retreat. After a while I did tell her that I was interested and I came to the September retreat.

The retreat was beautiful and I loved being with all the girls and talking to the postulants and novices about their vocation stories. However when I came home and went back to the busyness of my life I decided to put aside the idea of entering a convent at this time. Then one day after doing my hour of Eucharistic Adoration I was talking with Mom and she told me that I should continue discerning the religious life and that I needed to contact the Franciscan Sisters. So I did, and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan scheduled me for a three day visit in May and helped to get me started on the application. It took about a month to finish the application. I was so very happy when I received the phone call that I was accepted. I felt peace and excitement because I knew I was coming to a very welcoming Community of fun Sisters. Mom, Dad, and my siblings were always very supportive and helpful during my journey as were my parish priest and members of the parish.

My parents brought me to the Motherhouse August 22, the feast day of the Queenship of Mary. It was hard to say the final goodbye, but I’m very happy that I’m here at the Motherhouse. I’m looking forward to continuing my studies, to growing deeper in my relationship with Jesus and meeting all the Sisters.