Her Name

Yesterday we had our very first training session for the project. But I’ll get to that part later. More importantly we were all given schedules with the names of our assigned Sisters and their contact information. I didn’t know we were getting that information yet, so I was taken a bit by surprise.

It’s strange really, in the several weeks that I have been a part of this project, I have not once felt nervous or out of my element. And now, in that one instance especially, I suddenly feel apprehensive. I literally sat there with the schedule lying innocently in front of me, unable to read it. I felt absurd. It was just a name. It wasn’t as if my sister was suddenly sitting right in front of me. I gathered my nerves and read the sheet.

Her name is Sister Vicky. I don’t know why, but somehow knowing her name made her seem a little more real to me...which of course made me more nervous. I am not sure why, but I always feel a little nervous before meeting someone for the first time. The usual what ifs cross the mind. What if she doesn’t like me? What if I don’t make a good impression? However, I feel that this time around, these what ifs were amplified. I suppose the added pressure of having to make someone comfortable enough to divulge their story to you could have something to do with it.

Well anyway, this first training session had a nice introduction of what we could expect in the trainings as well as what would be expected of us as student producers. There was a survey that we filled out that assessed our religious vocabulary. Then we got to go around and introduce ourselves to the group and settle in for the session.

For this first session we had the pleasure of having Sister Jill give us an overview of sisters and nuns. I found her session quite useful as she went over the various vocabulary from the survey, which made me realize just how little I really knew about women religious. I think what surprised me was how she described the steps in the journey to become a sister. I didn’t know there were that many steps. But perhaps what surprised me most of all was the idea that one could drop out of the described journey.

I guess I had always assumed that if you became a sister that you would be forced to be one for the rest of your life. I was pleasantly surprised by how supportive and understanding the religious community is to women religious, and how voluntary the whole process is. I have a good feeling I will be learning more good things from my sister.

Helen Garcia

About Helen Garcia

Helen Garcia majored in social work at St. Catherine University. She has a passion for social justice and movement in communities. In the future she hopes to work in policy and create changes to the system. During the Spring of 2014 she was paired with Sister Vicky Larson, PBVM; a Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After completing her work as an oral historian she continued with SisterStory first as a production assistant and then oral history program assistant helping oversee the archive's development.