Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Charles Ann Champeau reflects on her call to the navy and to the Consecrated Life.
When I was 32 years old I joined the Naval Reserve. By that time, I had seen much of my country and had developed a great love for it and its people. I felt truly blessed and wanted to show my appreciation for this wonderful gift.
I chose the Navy branch of service because it was the only branch not yet served by my family, Because of my background I was asked to work in Store Keeping—that is supplies. My job, along with the rest of my unit, was to check the stores, take inventory, and load ships that were being deployed with everything they would need for a 3-4 month stretch. Supplies included everything from toilet paper to food, water (drinking and cooking), medical supplies, etc.
My training took place in New Orleans and my main base station was Subic Bay in the Philippines. I served for six years and my final rank was Petty Officer 2nd Class. The others in my Unit were like family, we became very close.
One highlight of my training was jungle survival in the Philippines. Have you ever eaten lizard? I mean big lizard! We learned what plants to eat—what not. We also saw liquid band aid before it was a product on the market—had to use it, too. It was a rich experience.
When I entered religious life, I told them I would no longer be available for service and was given an honorable discharge. I am still serving my country, still serving my people, by serving God.