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Sister Annette Wagner

Sister Annette WagnerThanks to my parents’ sacrifices, my three sisters and I attended Catholic schools in Corpus Christi, Texas, from elementary through high school. My first five years were guided by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. I remember their gentle yet firm discipline, their constant encouragement to develop a personal relationship with our loving God. With such nurturing, I knew from the time of preparing for my First Communion that I wanted to be a Sister.

Eventually we moved to another parish and I met the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament. Through my middle and high school years, they helped me discover potentials and possibilities.

As my social life became more interesting my focus dimmed, but it continued to echo in my own heart and through the encouragement of my father. Often when I came in from a date or some other social event and reviewed the evening’s enjoyment, I would hear, “Yes, but is that all there is?” At the oddest moments, my father would whisper in my ear, “Are you still thinking about being a Sister?” My answer was always a determined “YES!”

My Senior year, I was invited to a week-end retreat at the convent. All I remember is that when I left, I knew that religious life was not just the fantasy of a first grader. And it was time to take action.

Loose ends included convincing my mother, deciding which community of Sisters to join, and getting over last-minute doubts. The diocesan vocation director’s comment became my mantra: “What if you don’t’ give it a try? You’ll spend the rest of your life wondering. Just try it and see.” So I did—beginning my life adventure in September, 1964.

Sister Annette WagnerMy Protestant grandfather’s comment revealed a common idea about the convent: He told me, “God doesn’t want us to run away from life.” My response was immediate: “I think I am running toward life.”

Occasionally, I re-visit the truth of that statement. I have discovered talents and abilities through the call of my ministry and the support of my community. I have been involved in projects and experiences I never anticipated. I have been disappointed, challenged, surprised and delighted.

What happened to the little girl who dreamed of being a Sister?
. . . she is definitely alive and well because she is convinced that . . .
God never gives us a dream that cannot become His reality!