My Vocation Story
Writing a composition was never one of my favorite tasks at school. In Primary School I remember once getting “go maith” and what a joy. I still can see those two words written in red in my mind’s eye. So to get cracking I’ll try to share the story of my vocation.
It starts with the first quiet voice “I’m calling you.” I heard it during a homily given by a Jesuit at our Sunday Mass. I was in Secondary School then. After that I remember sharing my happiness with my companions.
In response to this invitation I had a decision to make: Where was I going to enter? Foreign Missions? Contemplatives? Teaching Community? etc. I continued to chat with the Lord and I heard the voice:”Go to the first place you are told.” During our school retreat that October I shared my story with the priest and he knew a Presentation Community in Wexford, Ireland that would be delighted to have me as a member.
The following August my mother accompanied me as I went for an interview to Wexford Convent. The night after the interview at the Convent I could not sleep. I tossed and turned all night thinking, “I do not wish to enter there.” Then I remembered the voice I had heard: “go to the first place you are told.” This continued to haunt me! My parents questioned: “Why don’t you go someplace near home like Mallow, Kenturk or Doneraille?” Eventually on October 17th, 1942, I entered in the first place I was told, Presentation Convent, Wexford, Ireland!
On saying “Goodbye” my dad said: “If you are not happy after one month, write and tell us and we will come and get you.” So my life as a Sister began on October 17, 1942. My mother picked this date because it was my Feast Day, Margaret Mary. She asked that I would be called Sr. Margaret Mary. Alas, a Sister with that name was in the Convent already so on April 26, 1943, I was received as a Presentation Sister with the name Sr. Agnes. It was Easter Monday! It was also the anniversary of Nano Nagle’s death.
During my years in Wexford Presentation Convent and School I enjoyed my teaching in Junior School. In August 1951, I made my first move to Presentation Convent, Enniscorthy. On arrival there I was filled with awe and fear of the unknown. There I taught in the Primary School and I had the privilege of preparing children for their First Holy Communion. I treasured that experience.
While Wexford Convent was located in the city and very confined, I loved Enniscorthy for the open countryside, the convent overlooking the Slaney Valley and Vinger Hill. I remained there until I received the invitation from our Congregational Leader to go to Alabama in 1988.
On arrival in Monroeville, AL on August 15th I lived in a trailer with Sr. Anthony. This was a completely new life experience for me and one I cherished. For the next ten years we served the people of Vredengurg. The local people were neglected when the local paper mills closed. Their source of income and sustenance ended with the closure of the Paper Mill after it was burned for the second time. The German Owners could not rebuild again. After serving the people in Monroeville and Vredenburg, AL.I moved to Globe, AZ.
My years in Globe, AZ were very fulfilling and varied. I taught CCD, was involved in Holy Angel’s School, visited the homebound and did Prison Ministry. When it was decided to leave Globe, I moved to Cypress, CA where I’m enjoying my retirement.
Looking back on my life as a Sister I see that it was a series of responding to different calls all within the primary call of being a Sister. I’m reminded of St. Paul’s words: “I live now, yet not I but Christ lives within me.” With Christ I have been a Presence for others.
I now see where my Original Call is leading and I hope to stay following that call all the days of my life.