A Q & A with Sister Michaeleen.
Why did you become a Sister?
I attended Catholic grade school and had a Sister for each grade. Occasionally the Sister would ask if anyone was interested in becoming a Sister. I never raised my hand since I was going to become a nurse – always wanted this since I was 7 years old.
Later on in high school, the thought came to me about becoming a Sister but I put that to rest for the time being. After graduating from high school, followed by graduating from nursing school, I started a Novena to St. Therese to help me determine if I should become a Sister. I received an answer in the form of a painted rose that was on a small tray that my 6 year old blood sister presented to me:
My sister asked me if I want the tray and I asked her if she wants to give it to me … she again asked me if I want the tray…and I said “yes.”
The Holy Spirit was guiding me all along this journey. It took me sometime to realize that the Lord was offering me this grace and that I had the freedom to accept or reject His offer.
Can you share the steps and the process you took to become a Sister?
I began the process to become a Sister after I had worked for 9 months as a nurse in Green Bay’s St. Vincent’s Hospital. I went to Chicago to enter the Felician Sisters Convent. For one year I was a postulant, then one year as a novice, and then one year as a newly professed Sister. During this time I learned about religious life, and the three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
Is your Sister name different than the name you were given at birth? How did you decide on your Sister name?
My Sister name is different from the one that was given to me at birth. When it came time to receive a new name (which was after the year of postulancy going into the novice year) I was to submit three names along with the reason for selecting those names. Our Sister Director along with several other professed Sisters than chose my name from the three I submitted.
Why did you join the Felician Sisters?
I am with the Felician Sisters community, whose official name is the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice.
While in nursing school, two Felician Sisters were in my class. I would visit with them once and awhile and so got to know about them. One of the Sisters invited me to accompany her to Chicago to visit the main convent…the Spirit did the directing and so I joined the Felicians.
Can you tell us where you grew up and a little about your family?
I was born in Kewaunee, WI, the second child of my parents, Harry & Eleanor Pardowsky. Eventually the family grew to 7 children in total (2 boys, 5 girls). We had parents who taught us good lessons, by their example, of how to love. We attended Catholic grade school and I was fortunate to have a Sister for all eight grades which my younger siblings did not have.
Can you tell us about the different ministry experiences you’ve had so far as a Sister?
- Worked as an RN at St. Francis Hospital in various departments including Labor & Delivery, Regular Nursery and the Intensive Neonatal Nursery
- RN in our care center in Chicago – worked with our elderly Sisters
- Ministry of Presence in Russia
- RN at St. Mary’s Home in Manitowoc
- Pastoral Care Associate at Felician Village
- Local Minister of the Postulancy in Pittsburgh, PA.
- Jail ministry for 2 years in Pittsburg, PA. (Allegany County Jail)
How long have you been with Felician Village?
I came to Felician Village in 1976 and stayed through 1978. In 1999 I returned and then left in 2009. Then for the third time I came in October 2012 and am still here to the present day!
What do you do when you go on your retreat?
Preached Retreat: Go for daily Mass; pray morning and evening prayers; go for spiritual conferences (usually 2 times a day) given by a priest; spend private time with the Lord in chapel or outdoors; enjoy periods of reset; enjoy 3 delicious meals daily.
Directed Retreat: One on one time with a spiritual director – have one time each day with the director who helps the person with developing a closer relationship with God. Also, one can experience the same as above (rest, outdoors, private prayer, meals, etc.)
How long have you been a Sister?
I have been a Sister for 59 years.
We know you pray for us. For what can we pray for you?
Thank you for asking. I would want you to pray for my family, my community of Sisters here at the convent and all Felician Sisters. Also, would you pray for an end to abortion, end to wars, for our government leaders, for all immigrants and refugees, for all people here at Felician Village, end to fear and open to love, for clean water for all peoples, for an end to trafficking of people especially women and children.
Do you have any hobbies or other interest you enjoy?
I enjoy reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing games on the computer. I also have a limited interest in cooking – usually short order things like oatmeal, eggs and okra!
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or about being a Sister?
I did play the guitar for a few years most of the time when I was at our care center in Chicago.