Sister Rita Rose Stohosky

Recently a poster was put up in our Convent with the following message. “God and I make a great team. I know where I have been and He knows where I am going.” I enjoyed it because it explains a lot of what I want to say about myself and my religious vocation. I experienced a desire to become a sister when I was in the sixth grade. It just grew stronger as I grew older and I could hardly wait until I was 16, the age required for entering the Sisters of St. Mary at that time. I was taught from first to eighth grade by these Sisters and longed to become one of them myself. Now, almost 60 years later, I am as happy with my decision as then.

I had another strong desire, and that was to teach primary children. I enjoyed all 48 years of teaching first and second grades and preparing hundreds of children for First Holy Communion, both in the schools and in religious education classes for public school children. Children have kept me young. I shared in their exuberance for everything. They would often want to know how old I was. Actually, often on Fridays I would be 100, but on Mondays I was always 21 again.

Though I have left the classroom, I still get to teach children, for I go to schools to teach Folk Dancing to kindergarten through second grade students. Also, I volunteer in the Pediatric Unit at St. Vincent Hospital and as a Eucharistic Minister throughout the hospital. For the past six years I have been teaching ESOL, helping adults with English, using many of the skills I had used in teaching children to read. Teaching adults from many countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Tanzania, Mexico, Vietnam and Panama is a special bonus in my teaching career.

I value my religious vocations as one of God’s greatest gifts . As I said, “God and I are a great team,” and He is always with me, doing His work through me and letting me see Him in each person I meet. I have never once had a doubt about my decision to be a Sister and experience the joy of letting God lead me because “He knows where I am going.” I just have to follow!