Sister Mary Lou Loonsfoot, OSF
Sister Mary Lou Loonsfoot reflects on her call to be a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity.
Hometown: Baraga, Michigan
Our family was poor but felt very blessed on December 29, 1941 as they welcomed my sister and I into the family. Identical twins, we were born five minutes apart at the home of our maternal grandmother, Mary Jacker, on the Chippewa Indian Reservation in Assinins (Baraga) Michigan. We were baptized—Mary Lou and Rose Mary—at Holy Name Church in Assinins.
I was the older one but we did everything together even to having our own language which only we understood. We attended Holy Name School up to the sixth grade. We had the Sisters of St. Agnes as teachers and even in second grade, I wanted to be a Sister. We completed elementary school at Baraga Grammar School and we attended Baraga Township High School.
Rose Mary entered Holy Family Academy after freshmen year. Even though I wanted to be a Sister since second grade I waited another year before going to the convent to make sure I was going for the right motive. Fr. Elmer Stoffel, a Capuchin vocation director, had a book of all different religious orders. He did everything he could to help Rose Mary before me and now me. With his help and that of Brother Angelus and their rich friends, I was able to get all the things I needed to go to the convent. Dad worked at the saw mill for a $1 an hour and could not afford it. However, our parents were very happy when I asked for their permission to enter the convent and supported both of us in every way.
I entered Holy Family Convent at the age of 17 on August 23, 1959 just when the foundation of Holy Family College had been laid. My twin and I entered novitiate together on June 13, 1962. She received the name Sister Mary Carla and I, Sister Judith Ann. We made our first vows on June 14, 1963. When we were able to go back to our baptismal names, I became Sister Mary Lou.
My main apostolate in the Community was that of Community Service. I worked as a homemaker in various places, as a nurse assistant in St. Rita’s and in the kitchen. I enjoyed working at the Motherhouse kitchen helping for jubilees and camps. However, I always enjoyed cleaning the best.
The best part of the day was, is, and will be – being able to go to Mass and Communion. Being in Community has been a most rewarding experience. I always have companionship with our Sisters. I am so grateful for all our Sisters and pray daily for our deceased Sisters. I have never regretted coming to the convent.
When I think of my 60th jubilee, I know my best friends are the Blessed Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
“I would say to those discerning religious life: “Follow what God is putting in your heart and come. Come to the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity – the best Community in the world.”