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Sister Lou Ella Hickman

Sister Lou Ella Hickman“What made you become Catholic?” Even after thirty plus years as a Sister, my heart still dances when I get to share my journey of faith.

I entered the church after Vatican II at the age of sixteen. I had been a devout Methodist, but something was missing. Eventually, I discovered that “something” was the Eucharist. Several years later I met a young Sister of Mercy and my life made another decided turn. I wanted to be for others what she had been for me. It would not be an easy decision for me to live out.

When I did share my decision, I discovered who my real friends were. The usual response was, “You want to do what?” Then came my family. If my mother had any ideas, she kept them to herself. Both she and my sister weren’t involved in any church activities; my father was living elsewhere because he and my mother were divorced. So I was pretty much on my own. Even after I entered religious life, my family struggled for years with having a “Sister in the family.” This was especially true of my mother. Because she could not bring herself to visit me more than once, she missed out on the love of many daughters. It was only after my final profession that an unspoken truce was called. Sadly, she died a year later without ever experiencing my community’s embrace.

Sister Lou Ella HickmanJesus didn’t promise friends and family would understand or be supportive. However, He promised He would. And He has been true to His word. As in all walks of life, there have been good days as well as bad days. But all the difficulties have been worth going through for the one reason why I stay: the thrilling adventure of Jesus.

As I said in the beginning, my heart dances when I can share my story. One of the Sisters in my community recently described a religious vocation in this way. “Everyone who enters religious life brings a unique rhythm to our communal dance with God.” My part in the dance has had its own special richness. Perhaps that’s why I want others to discover a similar joy I have found in dancing with God.