Sr. Angela Mary Parker, IHM
When I was in my teen years my sisters, a cousin, and a friend spent a great deal of time with the IHM Sisters who were in our hometown. We loved sharing time with them, whether it was to take them for ice cream, a ride, to another city for a Feast Day or just to visit them in their convent. They were always a joy to be with. We helped them in the school and in the convent. Strangely enough, I never wanted to be one of them. My desire was to be married and to have a large family. From the time I was 12 years old I helped in my father's business. As I grew older I knew I did not want to spend the rest of my life in that business. I also learned that when I went out on a date I always heard a little voice inside that said "This is not for you". I ignored that voice for a long time. After High School, I went away to a small college in my home state, run by a different community of Sisters. It was one of the happiest years of my life. Two of the Sisters on our floor were extremely kind to me. I enjoyed everything with them, from clearing the dining room, washing and drying dishes, praying, and celebrating whatever feast came along. They interpreted all this as a sign that I had a vocation to the religious life. They even made an appointment for me to see the Superior General of their Community. I frankly told her that my desire was to marry and have a big family. She understood and did not try to influence me to enter the convent. However, the seed had been planted.
For three years after I left the college I went back to see what feeling arose as I visited the Sisters and the college. After the third year I misinterpreted my belief that religious life was not for me. As time went on I became more uncertain about what God wanted me to do with my life. On my 25 th birthday, I began in earnest to pray and to ask God what He wanted me to do with my life. My birthday is in December and by March I began to think that maybe I did have a vocation to the religious life. I went to talk to the IHM Sisters who all confirmed that they believed I had a vocation to the religious life. I then talked to our pastor who also confirmed this belief. I then connected the Superior General of the IHM Community and she said "come." I then realized that when I thought I did not have a vocation to be a Sister, the message was that I did not have one to the other Community. I entered the IHM Community a few months later and have been very happy in all the years since then. I would like to tell any of my younger sisters in the world who are trying to decide on their life style, that it was worth all the struggle!
Sr. Angela Mary is currently serving as a volunteer at Our Lady of Peace Residence, Scranton, PA.