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Sister Brenda Thompson

Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Entrance: August 1956

Sister Brenda ThompsonI met my first Incarnate Word Sister at the home of Mrs. McDonagh’s, the mother of Sister Kathleen. She was hosting several Sisters from Texas in her home. When she opened the door she greeted me with a gentle smile of welcome. After tea and treats she excused herself and left me with Sister Mary Claude! She was a small lady and had a radiant smile, gentle voice and rather shy manner. She gently inquired if I had ever though about being a Sister. I told her YES and that I had heard many Sisters who came to speak to us at school with information about many different congregations. We spoke for some time that evening, each of us sharing their thoughts. That was the turning point for me. Sister Claude did not talk at me; she listened and shared in her quiet manner. I went home very late that night woke my uncle and told him I was going to Texas to be a nun. He gently smiled and told me to get some rest and we would talk later.

For the next year Sister Claude and I exchanged letters. Mrs. McDonagh became my gentle guardian listening carefully to my concerns and my excitement and helping me to prepare for the awesome task of leaving my home, getting permission from the Bishop of Dublin, getting a passport, and all of the medical shots and exams I needed. In the summer of 1956 Sister Catherine Brehony, Sister John Baptist Lyons and Sister Kathleen McDonagh were coming to Ireland for their home vacation. The plan was in motion that I return to Texas with them.

I packed all I was told I needed and with a sad and tear-filled heart I said my goodbyes to my uncle and two aunts, all that was left of my family. Did I have doubts? YES! To me Texas was a place where cowboys rode horses, shot up towns, robbed banks and killed people. What was I doing?

Sister Brenda ThompsonWe traveled for seven days by ship and three days by train. I had charge of a beautiful little Irish orphan boy named Billy who was traveling with us to his adopted family in Corpus Christi. Not ever having had a brother or sister I was terrified when Billy, who was in my cabin, began screaming the first night. Soon I discovered that if I sang gently to him he would go immediately to sleep. Finally we all made it to Corpus Christi. I was hot, tired and wondering how soon I could get back home. When I met the Sisters every doubt dissolved. I was home!

This year I will celebrate my 50th Jubilee, I will also celebrate my 70th birthday in July. My heart is overflowing with grateful joy and thanksgiving for the privilege that I have had being a Sister of the Incarnate Word. Each morning I wake I thank God for my Texas family, for the opportunity to see my beautiful Billy grown into a man with a family of his own who serves on one of our Board of Directors. I have been privileged to work as a teacher, administrator, high school counselor and now Director of IWA Alumni. I pray that I may always imitate the loving, gentle, joyfilled Christ.

Words of wisdom: Listen quietly and trust in God to guide you. Ask your guardian angel to take your hand each day. That’s the job of your angel.