In December of 2007, our daughter Rachel told us of her response to God’s calling to become a religious sister. Rachel was a junior at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, but had spent the previous semester studying abroad in Rome. Her experience in Rome had solidified her vocational response. Initially, we were surprised at Rachel’s announcement, but as we watched her in the months leading up to graduation, we realized she was committed to her decision and would be a wonderful religious sister. The Community that the Lord led her to was the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Miami, Florida.
We all wondered what that meant for us, her family. Would we ever see her again and, if so, how often? It was an emotional time as the date of her leaving drew near and we had no clear picture of what our life would be like when she left. There were so many unanswered questions. An elderly neighborhood friend (in her 80’s) learned of Rachel’s decision and saw the family’s uneasiness of her upcoming departure. She said, “God always gives back a hundredfold. Just trust in Him.” She said it many times before Rachel left. After Christmas 2008, the entire family of eight loaded up the Suburban and drove Rachel to Miami. After a few days of meeting with Mother Adela and the Sisters, we gave Rachel to her new family and to God.
In the nearly six years that have since passed, we have been experiencing what our neighbor promised. When we see Sr. Rachel living her vocation, we see how so many others are blessed by all the Sisters’ presence, blessed by their prayers and blessed by their vocations. We could not see it when we wanted to hold onto her, but the blessings and joy that our family has received and the blessings and joy others experience when they are around the Sisters is truly a hundredfold. The Lord is good!
Sr. Rachel entered the community of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary on January 2, 2009. She entered into Postulancy on March 19, 2009, and entered her Novitiate on December 24, 2009. On July 11, 2011, Father Drew and Father Roy Oggero traveled with the family to Miami to witness Sister Rachel’s First Profession of Vows.
In August of 2012, Sr. Rachel was one of three sisters sent to begin a new mission in the Diocese of Orlando, Florida, at the invitation of Bishop John Noonan to the Community. There she serves as the Pastor’s Liason for Evangelization and Faith Formation in Annunciation Catholic Church, a parish that Sr. Rachel says reminds her very much of St. Laurence. This role allows her to coordinate and help teach in the various faith programs, including RCIA, Youth Ministry and Elementary Faith Formation. She also teaches religious enrichment classes at the parish school and preschool as well as coordinates the baptisms at the parish.
During her years in the Community, she has assisted in all of the Community’s internal and external Apostolates, which includes retreats, the convent’s website and multimedia page, pilgrimages and, of course, the music ministry. Finally, she has been studying for her Master’s Degree in Theology, which she hopes to receive this December.
Janey, Doug, Becca, Meredith, Regis, Augustine and Joanna Gosda