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"Mom, I think I have a vocation" . . . Sister Jean Hartleib

I was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in elementary and secondary school. I remember that, in my teens, I refused to think about "becoming a sister". When I was in Grade Twelve, we had a 3-day retreat and the priest gave a conference on vocation to the religious life. After the conference, my best friend said to me: "Gee, I feel as if I HAVE to become a sister." I replied: "I don't feel like that AT ALL!" She got married, and I became a SSND.

When I completed Grade 13, I told my parents that I would like to go to university. My mother suggested Brescia Hall in London where my aunt, an Ursuline Sister, lived. I said I wanted to stay with my friends and go to what is now the University of Waterloo. The truth was that I did not want to be "around sisters".

I registered at the university. I had no peace. One Saturday, in late August, my mother was washing the windows in the living room. I don't know why I did this - but I went to her and said: "Mom, I think I have a vocation". She looked at me and remarked: "Well, don't look so sick about it".

Then, things began to happen: talking to my former biology teacher, a SSND, visiting the SSND motherhouse; cancelling my registration at the university - and enrolling at Teacher's College as a SSND postulant.

Why did I become a sister? Because - "You did not choose me, but I chose you." John 15:16 Since my profession of vows, my commitment to God has deepened, and I am at peace.

Sister Jean Hartleib is currently working in Volunteer Outreach, in Waterloo Ontario.

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