During this month of St. Francis, Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Carol Ann Gambsky, currently Administrator of Holy Family Conservatory of Music, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, responds to questions about her call as a religious and a music educator.
Where’s your home town and parish? Growing up there, what inspired or encouraged you to discern becoming a Franciscan sister?
I was baptized at Saint Peter and Paul Parish in Hortonville WI. We received religious instruction from the Sisters of Saint Agnes (Fond Du Lac) and I made my First Communion at Saint Peter and Paul, Hortonville. I remember the Agnesian Sisters being very kind and guiding us to love Jesus and our neighbor. As a child I never thought about becoming a Franciscan Sister. I was introduced and drawn to religious life when I attended Silver Lake College of the Holy Family when studying as a lay person in the music department. The influence of the Franciscan Sisters was tremendous and life changing for me.
I served as a FSCC in West Point/NE, Yuma/AZ, Green Bay/WI, Kekaha/HI, Music Teacher in schools and parish musician
Presently I serve in Manitowoc/WI as Teacher/Administrator of Holy Family Conservatory of Music.
The FSCC’s seem to encourage all their Sisters to develop their gifts. Was that the case with you in developing your music ministry – A musical path you wanted to follow or did the community suggest that to you?
When I entered the community as a Postulant I had already attended two years of Silver Lake college as a music major to become a teacher which had been my desire since age fourteen. As a young person in both Junior and Senior high school I knew I wanted to be a music teacher. The FSCC believed in my passion for music and provided me with many more opportunities to broaden my skill sets. These additional areas of study in Kodaly music, instrumental music and liturgical music enabled me to serve in schools and Parishes as Church organist wherever I was sent.
In this technological age, what are the benefits to your students to actually learning how to play a musical instrument?
The benefits of students learning about music and expressing themself through either their voice or an instrument are:
- The student has the opportunity to express themself creatively through beauty in the form of rhythm and sound.
- Music helps a person learn how to problem solve.
- Performing music successfully assist students to grow in self-confidence.
- Music brings joy to the family members of the student.
- Being part of group requires cooperation, high level critical thinking skills. These are developed in musicians when performing in ensembles.
What’s the most interesting or innovative program right now at the Conservatory?
We have many interesting programs at Holy Family Conservatory of Music. The Conservatory has Music for TOTs which is early childhood music from birth to age five. Childrens Choir is a great program as a follow-up to Music for TOTs. The Conservatory offers private and group classes in piano, violin, harp, guitar, ukulele and wind instruments. We offer handbell choir as well under the direction of Sandra Eithun, a popular handbell composer.
What would you say to a young women who you thought might be called your consecrated life?
I would say to a young woman, follow your heart and if you have the dream of living your life as a Sister take the leap of faith and trust that God will not fail. Be ready for a life of blessings, happiness, challenge, success and contentment. If God has called and one is faithful to the Lord you will not fail.
Consider one of our discernment retreats: https://fscc-calledtobe.org/vocation-discernment-events/