Being born and raised in a Catholic family, I always felt great respect and admiration for Catholic Sisters. My grandmother would share how incredibly blessed was the family whose daughter chose the path of religious life, and although I did not attend Catholic school, I do remember going to Sunday school and having a sister read Bible studies to my classmates and me. I remember being 8 or maybe 10 years old, wondering why they had chosen religious life. I wasn’t old enough or confident enough to ask back then, but now, thanks to SisterStory, I have had the opportunity to meet and have deep conversations with a Catholic Sister.
Sister Mary Kay Oosdyke and I met during a very winter-y evening, and I arrived late to class because of the dreadful drive.
"Don't apologize," she said. "I was driving in it myself and arrived not long before you did. It’s OK. We are here, and we can connect and enjoy dinner.”
That first evening our conversation went from who we were and what we did to the topic of forgiveness. It was magical.
Sister Mary Kay said to me: “You are a mother, and I am sure you love your daughter Sophia. The way you love your daughter is the way God loves you. Think about that and hold that for some time.”
I drove home that evening thinking about her words, which felt like fresh water in my heart. The way I love my daughter is the way God loves me. A powerful message on our first night meeting!
I held that message with me for a few days and thought about the many times I felt not Catholic enough or not good enough. I was placing my lens of my own judgement on the lens of God, and this short but powerful message shook me. I could not wait to meet with Sister Mary Kay again and continue our conversation.
Sister Mary Kay Oosdyke is a retired Sister from the Dominican Sisters at Marywood here in Grand Rapids, Mich., and she continues to work in teaching and preaching of adults in rural communities as well as serving as a spiritual director at Marywood. I can't wait to learn more from her!