A Q & A with Sister Ursula.
Why did you become a Sister?
I became a Felician Sister because I was attracted to this way of life and drawn by the example of my Aunt, Sister Mary Kay and the Felician Sisters who taught me. Truthfully, it was Jesus who called me to serve the Church, a calling I heard through my prayer life as a child which continued on day by day.
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 left my parents and siblings after completing 8th grade. I entered the Aspirancy – High School Program – in Chicago, IL. I loved every minute of my Aspirancy event though I missed my family. But I never thought of leaving. Again, that love for Jesus was my strength to continue. After my high school graduation I entered the Postulancy Program of Formation, onto Novitiate and Profession of Vows.
Is your Sister name different than the name you were given at birth? How did you decide on your Sister name?
I was given the name Marilyn Emily at birth. As a Novice it was the custom to take on a new name to signify a new way of life. I had no choice and was given the name which I bear today – Sister Mary Ursula – by the Leadership Team of the Province.
What religious community are you with? Why did you join this particular community?
I am a Felician Sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice. Again, my Aunt and my elementary school teachers were my role models.
If you are comfortable, can you tell us where you grew up and a little about your family?
I was born in Wausau, Wisconsin and at the age of 4 my parents moved to Athens, Wisconsin, where we owned a dairy farm. I am the oldest of 10 siblings and helped with the cooking, baking, and caring for my younger brothers and sisters before leaving home. Faith, and the Catholic religion were strong in our family life. I am proud to say I am a farmer’s daughter.
Can you tell us about the different ministry experiences you’ve had so far as a Sister?
My early years were spent as a first grade teacher. After 12 years, I was assigned as the Director of Postulants and Vocation Director for 7 years. I was elected as a Council Member, a position I held for 6 years. I held the position of a Principal in Southern Illinois and Wisconsin for 18 years. After serving the Sisters in the Chicago Care Center as the Supervisor for 14 years, I asked to retire.
How long have you been with Felician Village?
I have been here at Felician Village since July 2021 and found myself enjoying the residents, and admiring and being inspired by the Leadership and staff living out the Felician Core Values and Mission.
What do you do when you go on your retreat?
My retreat is a cherished time of silence and prayer. It is a week getting in touch with my values, my vocation, and a time to assess my relationship with my Lord. Aside from prayer are moments spent in reading, and some hand craft.
How long have you been a Sister?
I have been a Felician Sister for 64 years.
We know you pray for us. For what can we pray for you?
I ask for prayers so that I can remain a faithful Felician Sister, giving a good example to all and bringing new hope to everyone I meet.
Do you have any hobbies or other interests you enjoy?
Yes, I enjoy working on jig-saw puzzles, reading, cooking, and baking – especially fruit cakes for the Christmas season.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or about being a Sister?
I am a happy Felician Sister and grateful for my vocation. I would not trade my call for anything in the world.