A woman of steel

While there are many words I would use to describe Sister Verona -- funny, quick-witted, compassionate and patient come to mind -- two particular traits I’ve noticed about her over the course of our conversations are her resilience and her willingness to face hardship head-on. These are characteristics I really admire and that I wish I possessed more of myself. 

Sister Verona lost both her parents within four months of each other while she was in her novitiate, and while many people might have gone home for a while to recover emotionally, she continued to work at her assigned ministry, returning home only for the funeral and on weekends to take care of her younger siblings. Her actions in the face of tragedy showed so much strength, and I can’t imagine how hard this must have been for someone as young as she was.

Sister Verona faced other difficult (but less heartbreaking) conditions with dignity. For example, when her ministry took her to places she didn’t expect to have to live, such as the tiny town of Weare, or when her rent was jacked up so high that she and her roommate were forced to relocate to Marywood, the convent, she took these challenges in stride. Instead of complaining about having only one other sister to work and live with in Weare or dreading the process of moving apartments, Sister Verona did what she had to do without dragging her feet, and I really admire that about her.

When we talked about these trials in her life, it seemed as though part of what gave her the strength to get through them was her vow of obedience. She knew that where she was going was where the Church needed her most and where she could be of most help. And of course, she knew that God would never put her through anything that she couldn’t handle. Maybe thinking about this will help me too be as brave as she is next time I’m faced with a difficult situation.

About Erin Dwan

Erin Dwan is a junior majoring in English Literature and Community Leadership and Minoring in Women’s Studies at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. She is an intern in AQ’s Women’s Studies Center and a consultant in their Writing Center. After she graduates, Erin hopes to work in the nonprofit field and plant a garden in her yard. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking, baking, and skiing. Erin is excited to learn more about the Sister she was paired with, Sister Verona Wangler, OP, and hopes to learn more about religious life throughout the course of the project. During the Spring of 2019 she was paired with Sister Verona Wangler, OP; a Grand Rapids Dominican Sister.