By Sister Mary Gerard Adams, l.s.p.
When I entered the Little Sisters of the Poor, I think my family was very surprised – most probably because we seem better suited to a circus than a convent! My parents laughed and still wonder, “What did we do right?”
I met a Little Sister at a vocations fair in 2011 and was impressed by her serenity and joy. I was drawn very much to the order’s work with the elderly poor as well. Sometime later, I visited the Little Sisters’ community in Queens Village.
Right away, I felt at home. The community could tell, and like a joyful echo of what I felt, they shared with me the love they have for their vocation. I appreciated so much their welcoming attitude and generosity as they invited me to join them in their times of community prayer and service to the residents. Each one became an example for me, not only in the little words and gestures of kindness they gave me, but also in the way they lived their vocation of humble service to the elderly poor.
After a two-week visit, I told Mother that I felt I could stay. She laughed and said, “A very good thought! Hold onto it, go back to school – but don’t forget us!”
I certainly did not forget, and I think I wore out all my friends, talking endlessly about these sisters and the residents. I came back over the summer for their Spring into Service program, and then they could not get rid of me. After much prayer and dialogue, I entered as a postulant in October of 2014.
As I write this. I am getting ready for our retreat before profession. I am so excited to be making my first vows, and I hope to become an instrument of God’s merciful love for all those whom I will have the joy to serve. We take the three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and as Little Sisters, we also take a fourth vow of hospitality, which consecrates our work with the elderly poor. Consecrated hospitality is really a source of amazement for me, since everything we do for our residents is done in the same spirit of love as if we were serving Our Lord Himself. And really, it is Him we serve, as He said, “whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me” (Matthew 25:40).
I have come to think I would have never listened to what God wanted me to do without the rosary. I do not mean to say that praying the rosary is an automatic one-way ticket to consecrated life; but rather, that God wanted me here, and Mary helped me to see that. Meditating every day on the self-giving of Jesus and Mary cultivated in me a desire to give myself to God in whatever way He asks.
Now it gives me so much joy that I have given myself completely to God as a Little Sister of the Poor. As our Mother Foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan, once said, “What happiness for us, to be a Little Sister of the Poor!”
For those who are discerning their vocation, I would say: Do not worry! God is so good, He knows what He is doing and where He wants you to be. Just say yes, every day, like Mary did.
It is almost funny sometimes to look back and see that even when I felt the most lost, God’s hand was there, providing exactly what I needed every day. I am looking forward to seeing what His Providence has in store for me as I take this step forward in religious life.
Sister Mary Gerard, originally from upstate New York, made her profession as a Little Sister of the Poor in Queens Village, July 22. Her first assignment will be at the Sisters’ home in Palatine, Ill.