July 26, 2013

Serra Club vocations essay

Benedictine sister forms the faith of young family member

(Editor’s note: Following is the fifth in a series featuring the winners of the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2013 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

By Katherine Will (Special to The Criterion)

Katherine WillAt the age of 15, my great-great-aunt went to the convent through God’s grace just as her role model St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, did.

In 1927, Benedictine Sister Sylvester Will had no idea of the impact she would have on so many lives when she entered the convent. She was only looking to glorify God, yet she did it in such a selfless and humble way, that it touched the lives of others.

While this now 100-year-old nun spends most of her days praying, over 50 years of her life were committed to teaching students and inspiring them to live out their faith more fully in their daily lives.

Some followed a religious vocation. Of Sister Sylvester’s few possessions, the one that she holds most dear is a little black book. In this book is the name of every student she has ever taught, every student she has ever impacted.

If one would walk around Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, some of the sisters can say that either they, or their parents, were taught by Sister Sylvester. She is a witness to Christ through her selfless devotion to God in ways that cannot be put into words.

Just recently, I was visiting my great-great-aunt and we were talking about my future plans. Sister Sylvester always tells me that if I were to become a sister, it would bring so much joy to my life. Even more so, she says that whatever I do, I do for the glory of God.

I had never thought about the decision of which college to attend and my career quite in that light. I know, through the example of the religious in my life, that I want to glorify God through my actions, just like many around me have.

Whether I do this by becoming a religious myself, or being involved with the service organizations close to my heart, I would not be asking myself these questions if I did not have the example of the countless religious role models in my life.

When choosing a confirmation name last spring, I knew I wanted the person who has inspired me the most to be my choice. When I took Sylvester as my confirmation name, it was due to the person before me who had Sylvester as her religious name. A true witness to Christ is selfless, loving and glorifies God in all his or her actions.

In the 85 years that Sister Sylvester has solely devoted her life to God, she has done as much. The hundreds of students, the thousands of people, whose lives she has touched, including mine, have been reminded of the importance of glorifying God in all our actions.

To be an incredible witness of Christ, one must learn to live his or her life like Christ, and that is something Sister Sylvester has truly done.

(Katherine and her parents, Matthew and Melanie Will, are members of St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis. She completed the 11th grade at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis last spring, and is the 11th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2013 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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