A Q & A with Sister Carlotta.
Why did you become a Sister?
Since the elementary upper grades I had a desire to become a Sister. I had a teacher / principal whom I looked at as a mentor. She was just, fair, kind and charitable – a real “Sister”. Also, at the same time, my sister, S.M. Ursula, wa attending high school in Chicago and aspiring for sisterhood. I desired to follow in her footsteps. I believe God was pointing me in that same direction. Since the Felicians were basically a teaching community I believed I could educate by instilling a good philosophy of life with my values and then the young could become someone of importance in the future.
Did you begin the process to become a Sister before or after high school? Can you talk more about the steps and the process to become a Sister?
I entered Good Counsel High School in Chicago after elementary graduation. After High School graduation, I became a postulant which is the beginning of the formation period. One year later, I became a novice with a change of name from baptism to one of religious. A year later, I was professed and took the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. During these first three years of formation I lived with 21 other sisters in my class while attending courses for future, and living in community with these sisters from all backgrounds. After one year in vows, I taught 2nd grade with supervision, then received my bachelor degree and continued to teach. After 6 years in vows I made my perpetual vows and received a ring indicating final profession.
Is your Sister name different than the name you were given at birth? How did you decide on your Sister name?
My baptismal name is Carol Jean. It was a custom of receiving a “new name” at the time of receiving the habit. As a freshman in High School I was taught by a senior “Carlotta” when my algebra teacher went on a week class trip with other sisters. Carlotta was a great substituted because she was gentle, understanding, assisting us in Algebra. When I received my habit, we had a choice of 3 names. The Provincial team gave me the name “Carlotta” and I like this name – it’s different.
What religious community are you with? Why did you join this particular community?
A Franciscan Felician Community - the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice. I was taught by the Sisters for 12 years. My sister, S.M. Ursula was aspiring in this community and my Aunt, S. Mary Kay was already professed there.
If you are comfortable, can you tell us where you grew up and a little about your family?
I grew up on a farm in Athens, a town in northcentral Wisconsin. There were 10 siblings, 5 brothers and 5 sisters (one of my brothers passed away in 2015). We all shared in the jobs around the house, field and garden. Since a child, my Catholic faith and appreciation of family was and is important. These values are cherished and I wouldn’t trade them in to this very day. In fact, our family enjoys getting together for celebrations of birthdays and weddings, etc. and we live in close proximity of each other in Wisconsin.
Can you tell us about the different ministry experiences you’ve had so far as a Sister?
I taught in the elementary and high school, Assistant Novice Director, Novice Director, local minister in several convents including the formation house, Mission Director, cashier, and “hospitality” person in Rome, Italy.
How long have you been with Felician Village?
I’ve been in the Felician Village ministry just one month now after returning from Rome. However, I’ve ministered here from 1995 – 2006.
What do you do when you go on your retreat?
I usually make a 6 day silent directed retreat when I meet with a director who presents some spiritual passage. During the day I reflect on that reading and the next day share with the director, one-on-one, about where and what the Lord spoke to me. It may be a phrase or a word that I take to prayer that day and beyond…I also spend more time in prayer and rest.
How long have you been a Sister?
I am celebrating my 60th year in 2022!
We know you pray for us. For what can we pray for you?
Yes, I remember the staff at Felician Village in prayer because the Mission of the Felician Sisters is definitely lived by you.
Thank you. I ask that you remember me so that I may continue to do God’s will and remain faithful to my vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Also, that I show example to others by my actions.
Do you have any hobbies or other interests you enjoy?
I enjoy making cord rosaries to distribute to the missionaries, baking, cooking, Sudoku, word search, solitare, puzzles and playing cards, especially 3-13, gin 13 or canasta.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or about being a Sister?
I am happy to be a Felician Sister. I thank the Lord for this way of life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.