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High school girls see different faces of vocations


Dialog reporter


BEAR – A group of approximately 25 girls from three Catholic high schools met March 1 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Bear to hear about vocations from six women comprised of two religious sisters, three married women and one single woman.

After Mass with Father Roger DiBuo, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the girls heard from Franciscan Sister Ann David Strohminger, the diocesan delegate for religious. She shared her vocation story and encouraged the girls to visit religious communities or volunteer with them if they had an interest in religious life. She told them there should be no rush.

Meredith Fish, a junior at St. Mark's, was one of about 25 girls to participate in a vocations event March 1 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)
Meredith Fish, a junior at St. Mark’s, was one of about 25 girls to participate in a vocations event March 1 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

“Go to college, take some time,” she counseled. “Be curious. Be adventuresome.”

Sister Sandy Grieco, a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who ministers at St. Mark’s High School, said it had been about 10 years since the diocese had anything like this event for girls. Girls from St. Mark’s, Padua Academy and St. Elizabeth High School attended.

While the girls were eating lunch, Sister Sandy said she encounters a lot of young people who express an interest in living in community but not in taking the vows associated with religious life. An event such as this presented a chance to let them know that there are ways to serve the church without being a religious sister.

Karen Duppel, the chairperson of the theology department at Padua, had an experience like that after graduating from college.

“I did a year of service with the Marianist volunteers, and it was very beneficial,” she said.

In a panel discussion after lunch, the adults shared more information about their vocations. Padua theology teacher Mary Ann Wallen said she spent a year in formation with a religious community before deciding it wasn’t for her, but she never says never.

“I have not taken that off the table if that’s what God calls me to do,” she said.

Elizabeth Skorup, a theology teacher at St. Elizabeth High School, talked about being a wife and mother. She told the girls there are many lay ministries available at schools and parishes that don’t involve entering a religious community.

Katie McNichol, a Padua junior, said she attended the event because she wanted to know more about the girls from the other schools. A member of St. John the Beloved Parish, she said she has grown up with a strong religious background.

“There have been times in my life where I’ve thought maybe God is calling me to be a religious sister, but there also have been opportunities I’ve been presented where that hasn’t been part of it,” she said. “Whatever God puts in front of me, I’ll handle one day at a time.”

Claudia Kacmarcik, a junior at St. Mark’s, is a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish. She said she was honored that Sister Sandy asked her to be part of the day. She learned that a vocation could have several meanings.

“It’s what you do with your life. It’s not necessarily becoming a sister, but just doing what you can to share your faith and what you believe in,” she said.