Vocation Stories

Sister Marie Pappas, C.R.

I was born in Hell’s Kitchen.  It’s a section of New York City on the west side.  My parents were divorced when I was an infant and my non-Catholic dad had custody of me.  It’s hardly a setup for a religious vocation, right?  Added to this circumstance, my dad placed me in the care of a Protestant woman.  Thus, in my early years I attended the Dutch Reform Church.  At this point I’m still not in an ideal situation for a call to religious life . . . except nothing is impossible with God!  The Protestant woman who cared for me married a Catholic man and she converted to the Catholic faith.  Clearly, love changes everything.  From that point on I began attending Catholic School.  As I got a little older, my father decided he was able to raise me himself and when he did, I insisted on continuing my education at a Catholic school.  Dad was a humble taxi-cab-driver-become-restaurant-owner.  Despite the cost, he said yes to Catholic education.  I attended Saint Clement Mary School on West 49th Street where I was instructed by the Sisters of the Resurrection.  As they say, “the rest is history!”  I love being a Sister of the Resurrection.  We Sisters of the Resurrection say, “Because God loves us, we pass through the cross and death to Resurrection and Glory.”  I myself also say, “God writes straight with crooked lines!”  Why not listen to me and my many guests on Pathways of Learning, The Catholic Channel, SiriusXM 129 on Tuesday afternoons at 1pm or Saturdays at 7am and 6pm.  I talk about life’s lessons from a Catholic perspective.  I also direct Religious Education at St. Columba Parish in Hopewell Junction, NY.  If I could live my life all over again, I’d do exactly what I’ve done.  What an amazing grace to be called by God to love Him with my whole heart and to serve His people!

 

Sister Eva Marie Zajkowski, C.R.

I attended Saint Joseph's Elementary School where I was taught by the Sisters of the Resurrection.  I later attended the city's public high school.  Religious life was never on my mind! After high school I entered the work arena. In time I felt drawn to devoting time to deepening my spiritual life. Thus I began attending daily Mass during Lent and Advent, and soon I went to daily Mass all year round.  I also did spiritual reading on a regular basis.  At this point I was about 21 or 22 years old. I still had no thought of religious life.  But in time, I began to give it some thought; NEVER REALLY SERIOUSLY!!  Until one day, a Jesuit priest asked me at the end of my confession if I ever thought of becoming a nun. I don't know why, but I said yes.  The next day I met with him and from then on my life entered a new phase.  There were many ups and downs, yeses and nos, but under Father's on-going direction, I gave my "yes" to the Lord.  I was 23 years old.  I didn't know it at that time, but the HOLY SPIRIT WAS AT WORK and so also was the BLESSED MOTHER!

 

Sister Teresa Grace Baillargeon, C.R.

When I was 12 years old, I sent a letter to "Dear Abby" asking, "Is it normal for someone my age to want to be a nun?" I waited weeks, even months, for "Dear Abby" to answer my letter; but she never did. In time I realized the answer had to come from within me, not from some famous advice columnist.

I came from a practicing Catholic family, growing up in the small town of Newmarket, New Hampshire. I attended Catholic school for 1st and 2nd grade, but then went to public schools thereafter. My uncle was a priest and he was a great role model for me. He was a happy person who loved what he did. That made a great impression on me. I enjoyed attending daily Mass during Lent and Advent, and praying the rosary with my family. But I kept my desire to be a sister a secret - who would understand the desires of a teenage girl? Towards the end of high school I told my parents of my wish to become a religious sister. But they wanted me to go to college and work for a living first. So I was obedient to them. However, the idea of being a sister never went away, but my goal was to finish college and get a job. I finally graduated with a degree in Accounting and went to work for the federal government. I had a great car, my own apartment, and lots of money. Over time, I could tell that something was missing. God was calling again. In 1990 I left New Hampshire for Albany, New York, to make a big career move. At that time, I said to God, "Now leave me alone. Give me a year." Never give God a time frame! One year and one week later, I was back in New Hampshire and my brother Vic asked me if I still thought of being a sister. He told me I'd make a great one. Wow! Affirmation! That gave me the energy to go back to New York and seek God's will for my life once and for all.

I spoke to various sisters and priests, and eventually attended a Diocesan Vocation Day in August 1991. There I met the vocation director for the Sisters of the Resurrection. She exuded such joy! Whatever it was she had, I wanted. And so my journey took its most important turn - I began to visit the Sisters of the Resurrection on a regular basis and it felt as if the void I had felt so many years ago had been filled! I entered the Community in 1992 - in my heart, it was FOREVER! I have never once looked back!