A Q & A with Sister Bernadette.
Why did you become a Sister?
I had an Aunt who was in a semi-cloistered community in Los Angeles, CA. I think I was about 7 years old. We went to visit her once in a while. I thought she looked “so pretty” in her white habit. This was in the 60s. She left her community after a while and got marred some years later. But my call came much later when I was a Junior in High School. I started thinking what I wanted to do with my life when I would graduate from high school. I went to public school from kindergarten to 12th grade. I loved to go to the library. I found a book on “Convent Life.” It had many orders in it. I was looking for convents that had orphanages as a ministry because I loved children. It was written in 1953, the year I was born! So I read it and wrote to fifteen different communities. I wasn’t ready to tell my parents yet so I made sure I got to the mailbox before my parents did. At one point I did tell them that I am thinking about being a Sister. For about one year, my last year in high school, I prayed a few times at our parish church, then chose 3 communities and decided on the Felician Sisters.
Can you share the steps and the process you took to become a Sister?
I started my process in the last 2 years of high school.
Is your Sister name different than the name you were given at birth? How did you decide on your Sister name?
Yes, my name from home was Linda. In novitiate I decided on Bernadette because I liked that name.
Why did you join the Felician Sisters?
The Felician Sisters are a very compassionate community, invoIved in many projects including care of the Earth and working with the poor. This appealed to me and I joined the Felician Sisters after a receiving a very nice letter from Sr. Christella as I discerned my decision.
Can you tell us where you grew up and a little about your family?
I grew up in Santa Monica, California. I was born there. Though almost not!! My Mother had bad varicose veins, the doctor told her after the second child they should not have any more children because of her veins. Well, they were not happy with this so they went to talk to a priest. Four years later I was born, a year later another brother, 2 years later another brother, and my sister was the last one. My parents had a lot of faith.
Can you tell us about the different ministry experiences you’ve had so far as a Sister?
I taught pre-school and 1st to 3rd grade. Third grade was my first 2 years out for teaching, then I went to 1st or 2nd grade. I had a lot of First Communion classes. I taught for 23 years before I moved to Manitowoc.
How long have you been with Felician Village?
What do you do when you go on your retreat?
I like to attend directed retreats. I have a spiritual director and see him/her for about 30 – 45 minutes a day to discuss my prayer and life. I love to sit by the water and pray. I love to watch the sun rise and set. So most of the time I choose a retreat house that is on a lake.
How long have you been a Sister?
In 2021 I celebrted my 50th Jubilee! As of 2022 I’ve been a Sister 51 years!
We know you pray for us. For what can we pray for you?
That I can keep on helping the residents to the best of my ability.
Do you have any hobbies or other interest you enjoy?
I enjoy painting, bike riding, making cards, and shopping! Especially at Hobby Lobby!!
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or about being a Sister?
I am compassionate, kind and thank the Lord for creating me to his own image and likeness.