Sr. Lucy Roces, FMA
"A promising career and great social life just weren't enough."

Despite a promising career and a great social life, I felt a great emptiness within me. I spent much time in prayer, asking God, "What do you want from me?" The obvious answer was to turn more and more to Christ.

He was sorely lacking in my life. I was Catholic, but in name only. The thought of doing some kind of volunteer work kept coming back to me.

A friend of mine and I decided that we would go to India! A letter to Mother Teresa soon went out and an answer came back:

"You are welcome to spend time here, but first witness to your family."

The need to get closer to God kept gnawing at me. I decided to attend daily Mass. The hour I had for lunch gave me more than enough time to attend Mass as well as eat. Christ the King Church was nearby and offered a noon Mass, so I began to attend every day. How surprised I was to see so many professionals from the area worshipping!

On the way to work from Mass one day, I heard of a Catholic diocesan library at the seat of the diocese. I had never heard of such a thing. My spiritual thirst was kicking in again. That Saturday I resolved to go to the library that was located in St. Petersburg.

When I arrived at the library, the librarian asked if I was there for the course on the writings of St. John. "No, I'm here to see your library. "Well, would you be interested in the course?" Actually I was interested.

The people taking the course were mostly middle-aged men, with a sprinkling of women, one of whom was a Franciscan sister in lay clothes and a sister in a habit. As luck would have the sister in habit worked near where I worked. This was convenient because I could borrow her notes when I couldn't make it to class.

The thing that impressed me the most about this sister was that she seemed so professional, not at all like the sisters I remembered. As a matter of fact, she was principal at the parish school of Christ the King School! As October approached and the load at work got heavier and heavier, I had to miss some classes. As a result, the sister, Sr. Judith, kindly lent me her class notes, typed, of course, and the audio cassette from the class. One Sunday morning I phoned Sr. Judith asked, "Would you like your notes back today?" She responded, "We were actually on our way for a retreat."

Well, I don't know if she invited me, or maybe I hinted that I would like to go, but at any rate, I was on my way to retreat with the four sisters. "Well," Sr. Judith advised, "you can pray here in the chapel, the stations of the cross are outside, you can pray the rosary, you can read…" READ! That was the answer! I love to read!

In the course of the afternoon, Sr. Judith and I began to chat. She explained that she was the principal at Christ the King. She then went on to share the story of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, also known as Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco.
The rest is history. I got in touch with the sister in charge of vocations in New Jersey. Five years later, I made my first profession on August 5, 1996. By the way, my mother, who is deceased now 11 years, was a past pupil of the Salesian Sisters in Cuba. God sure has a sense of humor, doesn't He?

Sr. Maryann Schaefer, FMA
"None of the things that once
made me happy
matter any more."

I was born in a small city near San Francisco, California. I always loved the outdoors and sought any opportunity to go hiking, fishing, boating. I really enjoyed nature, especially our family outings.

The thought of "wanting to be a sister" first entered my mind when I was in junior high school. The summer after graduation,I saw an ad in the diocesan paper sponsored by the Salesian Sisters. It was advertising a retreat. I had never met a Salesian Sister before, and wondered what I was getting into.

When I arrived, I met the Sisters with smiles on their faces, eager to welcome me and to carry my luggage. It had never occurred to me that Sisters could be so happy!

As the days went by, I was drawn by their "smile" which was accompanied by a genuine, warm heart. When time for recreation arrived they rolled up their sleeves and joined in the games with us. I was captured!

I joined the Salesian Sisters at the beginning of the freshman year in high schools. Only too soon did my "dream world" come to an end. My mother was very sick and my father decided the best place for me was home. Almost 12 years later, I was again struck with the thought of becoming a Sister, but I was engaged to be married. I wrestled with the idea for almost six months, before I decided to apply for acceptance again and return the engagement ring. I was accepted a second time, and left my beloved California for New Jersey. I sold everything I had: motor home, motorcycle, fishing equipment, hunting gear and paid off my plastic card. To NJ I went!

Over eighteen years have passed and I haven't looked back. None of the things that once made me happy, matter any more. There isn't a paycheck in this world that could make me as happy as I am. The emptiness I had felt while dating and even while engaged is now gone.

Yes, I gave up everything and took the Lord's invitation: "Come, follow me and I will make you a fisher of people". In return, the Lord has blessed me abundantly, personally, and in bringing young people to Him.

For more information please contact:
Sr. Antoinette Cedrone, FMA

655 Belmont Avenue • Haledon, NJ 07508 (973)790-4408
© 2002 by Salesian Sisters Vocation Office