Diocese of Marquette Yooper Catholic author Hattie Hanold writes on God’s call to Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Jacqueline Spaniola. Enjoy the read.
Sister Jacqueline Spaniola doesn’t shy away from the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s call to serve and minister the Church through education. The Swartz Creek, Mich., native actively engages Catholics young and old through organizing faith formation and adult education classes, and leading retreats in the Diocese of Marquette and Wisconsin. The second youngest in a family of 11 children, Sister Jacqueline recalls feeling drawn to religious life at a very young age.
“I was in 8th grade, and one day I went past the convent and heard the sisters singing,” she explained. “And the thought came into my mind, ‘why don’t you become a sister?’ That thought had never entered my mind like that before.”
After “getting brave enough” to ask her parents if she could go to a boarding school in New York that the local religious order ran, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, her parents initially denied her request, saying she was too young to move that far away as a high school freshman.
“I thought, well God, you talk to us through our parents!” Instead, Sister Jacqueline attended the public high school where she found unique ways to evangelize her peers when their curiosity was piqued at her being Catholic. As students learned of her desire to go to the convent, she remembers engaging in interesting conversations with her classmates. “One girl came up to me, she said, ‘well, is it only Catholics that can say the rosary?’” After explaining to her classmate that praying the rosary wasn’t exclusively for Catholics, Sister Jacqueline went out and bought her a rosary. During these types of interactions, the thought of entering the convent never went away. Eventually, Sister Jacqueline wrote seven different letters to seven different orders to aid in her discernment search for the community she was meant to join. Keeping her search relatively close to home out of respect for her parents, she sent letters to convents in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.