Sister — in the real world

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    Spotlight Audio 9/2021
    Sally Koch

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    orderOrdensgemeinschaftOwen: Can you imagine living in a religious community while also having a day job? In A Day in My Life we meet Sally Koch, a sister in the Los Angeles Province Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The 34-year-old lives in a house with two other sisters about 40 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles. In the first part of the interview, Sister Sally explains how she decided she wanted to become part of a religious order.

    That took a long process of discernmentEinsicht, Wahrnehmungsvermögendiscernment and prayer and really talking to God. At first, I was very to be hesitantzögerlich seinhesitant for many years, and seven years ago I did a masters (degree)Magistermasters in pastoral ministryPastoraldienstPastoral Ministry at Santa Clara University in California. And through that, my own spirituality and relationship with God grew and I was more willing.

    Owen: Sister Sally is only on the first part of her journey as she still has to take permanent vowGelübde, Profess auf Lebenszeitpermanent vows.

    There’s another stage, and that’s for three to six years of being in first vows. So, I took the vows of poverty, celibate chastityKeuschheitcelibate chastity, and obedienceGehorsamobedience, and really living those out and living in community with sisters and really like, OK, this is how it will be. So, for three to six years I’m still discerning is this the lifestyle, is this what I feel called to with God. And then it’s permanent vows.

    Owen: Sister Sally and the other sisters in her community start every day with prayer. 

    We pray at 8:30 a.m., and we have communal prayerGemeinschaftsgebetcommunal prayer so each one of us leads a prayer, and we can bring whatever we feel we want to bring to that prayer and lead it however we want to. So, it can be very creative, just a chance for sharing and bringing our petitions, what we want to pray for in this world – people, friends, family, society – all the things that are going on in this world right now.

    Owen: Rather than living in a monasteryKlostermonastery like a nunNonnenun, sisters are out in the world helping people. Sister Sally’s order gives its members the freedom to follow their own interests in serving the community. 

    We have, in our documents, a saying that says, “Do all that a woman is capable of for the dear neighbor.” And so that opened it up to, OK, well, I have this passion for social work, so I’m going to go to school and be a social worker. Or I have a passion for music, so I’m going to live this careismetwa: soziale Ader, Fürsorgegedankecareism through music to reach people. So really, it’s what are your passions? What are your interests? And find a job that has that.

    Owen: At the time of the interview, Sister Sally was still looking for the right job for her, but all her future earnings will be shared with the other members of the community.

    Being a sister means being in community, and it means we all throw our lot – L-O-T – our resources, together in a pool. So, when I do get a job and get paid, my salary will go into that pot, will go into that pool, just like every sister’s salary has been. So, food for me, and the housing that I have, and all of the resources that I have [are] from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

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