Sisters Maureen Abbott and Denise Wilkinson: What does it mean to you to be a Catholic Sister today?
Note: Here is the fifth blog in our series celebrating Catholic Sisters Week, which concludes on March 14, 2020. During the week, many sisters will share here on our blog what being a sister means to them. Sister Maureen Abbott and Sister Denise Wilkinson have written the fifth of such blog posts below.
Sister Maureen Abbott, Community Historian
As someone well into the autumn of life, it means what it has always meant – remaining faithful to what I experience as a deep-seated call. By belonging to a close-knit community of other women following a similar call, I get a lot of support every day from their example of reaching out to help others experience a little love, an unexpected mercy, and a strong hope for justice.
Sister Denise Wilkinson, volunteer at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods
I entered the Sisters of Providence in 1963. I spent the next five years learning “how to be” a Sister of Providence. I learned the basics of prayer life; how to live in community; what hard work teaching is. Teaching taught me – in an indelible way – that everyone comes with a multifaceted personal story that shapes the connections (or lack of connections) among us.
All these learnings came – and still come – from real family, real friends, real students, real work associates, perfect strangers and my very real and loved Sisters of Providence. Good books and good movies, doing things I love and doing things I’m afraid to do continue to teach me about being a Catholic sister too. Yep – I’ve led a life of realness.
When I taught French, my students and I read St. Exupery’s The Little Prince. Let me end with a real quote that has really shaped my life. It describes how I want to be as a Catholic sister – a real Catholic sister. “And here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Seeing what is essential is at the heart of what it means to me to be a Catholic sister, a Sister of Providence.