The first time I met Sister Tereska was at Marywood for a welcome dinner to introduce us students to the sisters we had been paired with. While I could tell from the moment that I met her that we would get along very well, I did not get a good feel for her personality until our first official meeting a week later. I had been waiting in the lobby of Marywood for her to come meet me, and once she did, she led me up to a small sitting room on the second floor. At the table, I saw a stack of pictures and a map of Michigan.
After we had exchanged pleasantries and sat down, she simply told me, “I want to tell you about my family today.”
I was a little shocked, to be honest.
I had expected to have to lead the conversation by asking her questions, but instead, she took over the conversation and told me all about her family and where she grew up. It was incredible to hear such a story. I can truly say that I have never heard someone talk so highly of their own family. Often times, family life can be extremely difficult to talk about, but for Sister Tereska, it was so natural, and she seemed so proud of everything that she told me.
This first interaction with Sister Tereska made me realize the kind of person she is. She is one of the most caring, thoughtful and selfless people I have ever met. The way she speaks so highly of others, especially her family, is inspiring. For a good part of her ministry, she lived with one of her biological sisters, who is a Mercy Sister herself. She said it was really nice to be able to live with family again.
During that first interview, she talked more about her family than herself, but those conversations still told me so much about who she is and what she holds most important.