Sister Anne Mary (Extern Sister)


There was a vague attraction to Religious Life from early childhood years, common enough, perhaps in those days when our schools were staffed by Religious. However, I took my future seriously. When I was in Standard 3 or 4, that is age about 10 or 11 years, Sister spoke of the Carmelite Nuns in Christchurch. Sister was of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions, R.N.D.M., and their Novitiate was in Christchurch and in Addington where the Carmel is, the Parish School was staffed by these Sisters. Sister said she thought there was a Carmel in Auckland also. For some strange reason I never forgot that. About 2 or 3 years later, again my future came very much to the fore and, of course, I prayed to know - at this stage, as if "one step at a time" was my policy - what subjects I should take to fit me for my future. During this time I read a pamphlet on St. Therese especially with one particular part which seemed to me - and I stress this "which seemed to me", to bring out the sufferings of Therese and the intentions for which she offered these suffering, and I thought about it there and then, and a tug-o-war began in me - "no I wouldn't have the courage", "If she could do it so could I" and so it went back and forth until I ended on the negative. But this seemed to be the beginning.

Yes. I did think of other Religious Congregations, especially missionary and nursing ones.
How did I know? Well, as can be seen from what I have already said, prayer and God's will were very important to me and so I prayed.

What did I pray for? Not for a Religious Vocation but rather to know
1. If my vocation was to be marriage that I would know who I was to marry.
2. If I was to be a Religious that I would know to what Order, and that I would know how to go about going ahead with it.
3. If I was to remain single, that I would work where I could best fulfill God's will. It was to Mary as Mother I prayed.
I had been at work for about 18 months when my girl friend asked me to make a Retreat with her at the Lower Hutt Cenacle - the first weekend Retreat at this new Retreat Centre - to be given by Father Pat Abbott s.m.
On the Sunday morning Father met me and began chatting - "Was I going to stay here?" "Oh, no, but I wouldn't mind being a nun though". "What are you doing about it?" By now I knew that this was the answer to my prayer - I was caught!! Yes I could choose and I did. I said my "Yes" and I still say my "Yes" after 47 years, and, by God's grace will continue to say it right up till my last breath.

What made me choose this? And what has kept me here? The answer to both questions is the same - "The compelling Love of Christ". Although I would not have used these words 49 years ago for I would not have known just what it was, this attraction I had, however, I do know now, and I have never regretted this choice. THANKS BE TO GOD.