May the Passion of Jesus Christ be Always in our Hearts
Passionist Nuns of Saint Louis
15700 Clayton Road 
Ellisville, MO 63011-2300
Phone: 636-527-6867 | Fax: 636-527-2599
Surprising Turns To Calvary
Sr. Mary Elizabeth, C.P.

The first time I even thought about the life of a Sister was in grade school. I was taught by a few who had modified habits as this was in the 1970's. But it wasn't until 5th grade that I remember being blown away by one. Her name was Sr. Francesca and she was a Sister of St. Joseph. The big difference that she had the full habit and this habit looked like it was her original one, so old and worn. It's a humorous coincidence that the habit I wear now is strikingly similar to the one she wore. Sr. Francesca died shortly after my 5th grade as she was very old. I remember thinking, " that was the last nun in the world." My immature mind could not imagine that there was actually nuns who still wore the full habit. It was also at this time, Junior High School, that I fully discovered the Pro-Life Movement. The horror of abortion and all its hideous henchmen made a great impact on me. I was determined to be as pro-life as I possibly could and what better way than to get married and have a bunch of babies! In high school, being the driven and high achiever type, I formulated a plan of life. First, I would try this career and woman-empowerment route and see how far I could "climb" before the age of 25. I also planned to do a good amount of world travel during this climb and then find that right man and spend the rest of my life having children and making a home. Me end goal was so noble, I thought, that nothing could go wrong or be a hindrance to any of these plans. God would be with me, I was sure. 

But, living a life totally focused on self and self-achievement, as I did for some 5-10 years, lead inevitably to sin and I fell time and again. I hung out with some pretty wild youth and dabbled with the Culture of Death - alcohol, drugs, impure sense pleasures. By the time I was 24, I realized what I was doing. My plans were not working out. There was no good husband material in sight. I had done a little traveling, but nothing abroad. My job in a corporation was leading nowhere it seemed. The Lord in His infinite mercy and utter patience with me those ten years taught me a valuable lesson: the end does not justify the means! I was brought to my knees and literally dropped my miserable soul into His adorable lap through the dramatic intervention of Our Blessed Mother. Being born on one of her feasts, I had always had a great love of her and even recall that during those 10 wayward years, I fervently prayed Hail Mary's on long, solo car trips. She led me by her hand. I resisted. But in 1993, she spoke to me through a book, The Final Hour. The book documented the many apparitions of her which were occuring at that very time. Her message was always that same: prayer, penance, conversion. By the grace of God, I began doing these and started living a more holy, unselfish life. 

The final act of sacrifice was the increasingly strong "call" to become a sister. At first, I couldn't believe that I was worthy to become a nun. But I was a made aware of others who had lived more sinful lives than I and they became beautiful and holy consecrated men and women. Overwhelmed by the choices of the many different religious communities i could possibly join, I once again threw my not-so-miserable soul in His adorable lap. There I found the Passionist Nuns of Ellisville. A cloistered convent! That scared me quite a bit and I determined to wait until I was 30 years old. But the Lord's sweet urgings and irresistible beckoning made me ask to visit. The visit, was so nice but a real eye-opener. The traditional monastic life we lead here was so foreign to me. It intrigued me, though, and I particularly like the daily regimen. It reminded me of the military in which I actually considered enlisting when I was in high school!  
But what really made me want to enter the Passionist Community was its charism. The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the small ad I first saw said, is the greatest act of love on earth. Love in its purest totality. Jesus is love and what He suffered and sacrificed for us, ultimately on Calvary and now in the suffering of humanity, convinced me that nothing in the world matters but to do the will of Jesus. The little Calvary in Ellisville, I firmly believe, is the will of Jesus for me and in that conviction I find the greatest joy, hope, peace and love.