Main Site Navigation
When an article about Jennifer Prickel appeared in the May 28 issue of The Criterion, the 23-year-old member of St. Anthony Parish in Morris and teacher at St. Nicholas School in Ripley County was still wondering when God might allow her to follow her call into religious life.
At the time, more than $50,000 in student loan debt stood in the way of Prickel fulfilling her desire to serve God and the Church as a member of the Steubenville, Ohio-based Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Little did Prickel know, however, that her prayers would be answered in a dramatic way just 10 days after her story appeared in The Criterion.
On June 7, a woman called Prickel and told her she felt that she was supposed to pay off her debt. The woman wanted to know the exact amount needed to do that, and asked to meet Prickel later that day.
When Prickel met the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, she gave the aspiring religious a cashier’s check for approximately $52,000.
Prickel now expects to enter the Sisters of Reparation as a postulant on Aug. 5—and she couldn’t be happier.
“The overwhelming feeling has just been joy and peace,” Prickel said. “I’ve just been so joyful and just so excited about being able to finally fulfill this desire that I’ve had to live in a religious community, and dedicate my time to God in prayer.
“I just can’t stop smiling, especially when I tell people.”
There were also a lot of smiles on the faces of the sisters in the community that she will be joining when she shared the news with its superior, Mother M. Wendy McMenamy.
“There was great joy and prayers of gratitude,” Mother Wendy said. “In the midst of a meeting, I received the call and the excitement in Jennifer’s voice was enough to make us equally excited. However, it was above all a deep gratitude that we felt as we saw God’s hand so clearly at work in providing for Jennifer’s needs.”
That happiness was shared by Prickel’s mother, Amy.
“We were all very excited. We cried,” Amy said. “It was something that she has been praying about for a very long time. I really feel as though it happened on the day it was supposed to.”
Although Prickel would have liked to enter the Sisters of Reparation as soon as she was accepted by the order, she believes that the timing of the paying off of her debts was directed by God.
“If [the article] hadn’t been published at the time that it was, who knows what would have happened,” she said. “The timing was perfect. It was just the way that God wanted it. It shows how we’re just not in control of anything. He is.”
Prickel had been waiting for God to answer her prayers over the past academic year as she worked as a religion and English teacher at St. Nicholas School in Ripley County—the same school that she attended from kindergarten through the eighth grade.
Up until June 7, she expected to be teaching there again starting in August.
“I was gearing myself up to teach for another year,” Prickel said. “I would have done whatever God had wanted me to do.”
Judy Luhring, St. Nicholas’ principal, taught Prickel when she was in the third grade at the Batesville Deanery school and has mixed feelings about losing such a good educator.
“It is very bittersweet that Jennifer will be leaving St. Nicholas School [because] she is a spirit-filled teacher full of love for God and her students,” Luhring said. “It is sad to see her leave but, deep in all our hearts, we are extremely happy for her.
“When I spoke with Jennifer about entering the convent this fall, her eyes were glowing like a bride. How could I not be happy for her? Jennifer is an example for all of us,” Luhring said. “She trusted and devoted her daily prayers and life to God and his saints. And in return, God granted her wishes in his time and will.”
The sudden and dramatic answering of her prayers just confirmed for Prickel the importance of having complete trust in God.
“We always have to believe that our prayers are going to produce results. Otherwise, it would be useless to pray,” Prickel said. “But I think that the Lord really taught me that when we have full confidence in him, … he can move mountains for us.
“He delights in our confidence in him.” †