Nuns on the March
Sister Catherine Thomas, twenty-seven and three-and-a-half years into her formation, wears a novice's white tunic and a close-fitting cap, or coif. A friend at St. Louis University "met Sister Joseph Andrew at Notre Dame," she recalls, "so we invited her to come and speak...by the end of that weekend, she was calling me 'sister,' and I was trying to hide it, but I was loving it!" After attending a retreat and talking again to Sister Joseph Andrew--"she could tell I was running from the Lord"--she set aside plans for law school and entered the convent in August 2007.
Sister Stephen Patrick, twenty-six, is five-and-a-half years into her formation. Though still a "temporary professed"--she can still back out if she wants to--she wears the full habit: floor-length white tunic plus a white coif and black veil.
"I was at the University of South Alabama when I was discerning my vocation," she recalls. "I went on a 'nun run' with five friends to decide if that's what I really wanted to do. We visited convents throughout spring break, and I was at a eucharistic adoration at a convent in Washington, D.C., when in my heart I heard [God] call me to really be his, and I said yes. As we were driving home, it just came out of my mouth--'I'm called to be a sister'--and suddenly I felt an immense joy.
"My friends said they knew already, but I was twenty-one and quite sure I always wanted children and a family." Yet when she talked to her mother, she said she'd always known: "She said she'd consecrated me to Our Lady when I was still in the womb!"