What is a Franciscan Life of Consecration

by Sister Julie Ann on August 11, 2010

White Mountain Apache Tribal Member Sister Pascalita

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, Sister Pascalita Velasquez, OSF, the only White Mountain Apache Tribal Member to dedicate her life to God as a consecrated woman religious, writes about the beginnings of her call from God.

Our life as Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity is a response of love to God’s call. Our relationship to Christ and His Church gives our life meaning.

Further, our life of religious consecration is mystery. It is lived and known only through faith. It has its basis in Scripture ( e.g. Mk 1:16-20; Mk 2:13-14; Jn 1: 36-39)). It is a gift of God to the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Sister Pascalita Velasquez, OSF, the only White Mountain Apache Tribal Member called to be a consecrated woman religious, left in her personal items a hand-written reflection of her vocation story that was shared after her death on August 7, 2010. She was professed 63 years at the age of 82. The contents are shared here in hopes of giving one Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity’s  awareness of Jesus Christ’s call and her understanding of a life of consecration.

It has been 48 years since I accepted the wonderful invitation to serve the Lord. I cannot say that I thought of becoming a nun when I was real small. It all began when I was a sophomore at St. John’s Boarding School in Komatke, Laveen, Arizona. My life at St. Johns and my contact with the Sisters went on for me very normally. I attended classes and helped with the work assigned me, went to daily Mass and took part in other activities observing the dedicated lives of the Sisters and my daily contact with them was what brought on the strong desire to dedicate my life to God.

Franciscan Sister Pascalita and family membersThe thought of becoming a Sister came to me one day in a very strange way as I was sitting alone on a bench waiting for a friend who went to fetch something to munch on. While I was waiting, I saw a Sister run across the yard. I believe it was Sister Rita Forgach. When I saw Sister rushing to her work, I thought how wonderful it must be to work for the Lord. When this Sister disappeared in the building, I continued sitting on the bench in deep thought and looking up at the sun rays coming through a tamarick tree. It was at this moment like a spark of fire, I thought of giving my life to the Lord. The rays coming through the tamarick tree, which is still very clear in my mind, I feel was the presence of the Lord inviting me to follow Him. I accepted this invitation and made known my wish and desire to the Sisters. They were happy and helped to keep alive this spark of wonderful inspiration in me with their prayers and encouragement.

I entered on December of 1945. The forty seven years I have been striving to serve the Lord were worthwhile and happy ones. There were times I was not perfect but through His mercy and love, I continued to serve Him in teaching and doing whatever jobs assigned me. I’m grateful and feel very privileged to have served Him this far and with His help I shall continue on. The little spark of fire at the beginning can only be ignited into a big fire of love in His service with loyalty to my three vows and prayer life. It takes great courage and a great deal of generosity to join up in His service. He needs help and I feel it is a great privilege to be called to lend Him a helping hand and always be ready to answer, “Yes, Lord, here I come,” when He calls.

Franciscan Sister Pascalita teaching children at San Xavier Mission School

Consider a discernment retreat. 

Read Sister Louise’s reflection on Sister Pascalita’s life

28 thoughts on “What is a Franciscan Life of Consecration”

  1. Ssharon says:

    What a unique reflection written by Sr. Pascalita on her life and vocation story. I treasured the simplicity, the dedication and endurance of Sr. Pascalita being the only Apache in our community and her rendition of her vocation story. The pictures are treasures to behold. Thank you, Sr. Julie Ann for sharing this inspirational story from one of our own. May Sr. Pachalita be resting in the peace and love of the Lord! Gratefully, Sr. Sharon Paul

  2. Sister Louise says:

    I will miss seeing Sister Pascalita in our midst. She was a gentle person and a delight to spend time with. Her faith and commitment to the Lord was evident in the way she lived religious life. At the wake last evening, one of her nephews sang an Apache hymn celebrating resurrection and ascension to God who created us and sustains us. Though I could not understand the words as they were being song, the melody was comforting.

    Thanks for posting her vocation story told in her own words.

  3. The Apache hymn moved one of Sister Pascalita's nieces to say 'Sister is dancing her way to heaven'. The strong beat and up and down melody was emotionally light-hearted. What a blessing for us her Franciscan community to witness the strong faith and cultural traditions of Sister's family.

  4. Sadrianna says:

    What a blessed tribute to a Sister who has shown us strength and courage in decision making and an openness to what the Lord asks. She was a gift to our community.

  5. Sister Chiara says:

    I did not know Sister Pascalita very well, but this reflection written by her tells me that she was a loving, gentle reflective soul. It also tells me that she was very aware of the little blessings that God gives us in nature.
    Thank you very much for sharing this.

  6. Domingo says:

    This is a beautiful story of God's love yet lived through Sister Pascalita. May her testimony bring more vocations from among her very own people.

  7. Shelena says:

    What a beautiful reflection on a call to religious life. May Sister Pascalita's words be an inspiration to us and especially to young women considering the religious life.

  8. Sister Pascalita was all about the ordinary stuff that makes one holy. I'm sure she is encouraging each person to do the miraculous little things that make up his/her day whether married, single or religious. Thanks for the comment, Domingo.

  9. Siste Laura says:

    Sister Pascalita's vocation story underscores an amazing reality for me — She was touched by the image of the Sister working not the words of the Sister. I guess you never know where and when the Lord will touch you. In the words of Francis ” Preach always and if necessary, use words”
    What a blessing it has been to have Sister Pascalita in our lives!

  10. sisterannemarielom says:

    It was a privilege to know Sister Pascalita. I didn't know her “story” but I now realize she “lived” her story. Her smile, which I experienced often at St. Francis Convent, was a great affirmation.

  11. A. Gabriel says:

    The Franciscans hold a very dear place in my heart. They fashion their lives after the models of Francis and Clare. Bless them all.

  12. Thanks for taking the time to comment. We learn much from the people who welcome us into their lives. The Lord bless you!

  13. Veroneleeman says:

    What a lovely and inspiring story. So many of our dear older sisters have beautiful stories to share. I am happy to live with a storehouse of such treasures. Sister Verone

  14. Vandeheye says:

    I am in the same crowd (class) as Sister Pascalita and do remember the December day when Sister came to join us in our Franciscan Community. We were thrilled to have another member join us on this journey to teach and to save souls like Jesus would ask us to do.

  15. And you continue to encourage us by your Franciscan presence on earth. Thanks, Sister.

  16. So true. And you contribute to our richness found in living together. Peace and all good.

  17. Snatalie says:

    I was blessed to have walked this earth with Sister Pascalita at San Xavier Mission Convent and School in Tucson. When we shared our Motherhouse home we often reflected on shared memories. These will be treasured in recalling her memory.

  18. Sisabelle says:

    This story is very inspiring, especially for myself as I discern my vocation throughout my novitiate and formation. She peresevered through all those years and that is a great example to everyone to keep on keeping on.

  19. Sister Monica, novice says:

    Thanks for sharing the pictures! She sounds like she was an incredible woman of faith. I was only able to see her in St. Rita's, but I feel blessed to at least have that.

  20. Sr. Elaine says:

    There are so many wonderful Sisters in our midst to guide us on our way and inspire us to keep our lives focused on the Lord. It's not always easy, but it is very rewarding. God bless you during your years in Novitiate. What a beautiful time in your life.

  21. Memories of lands and peoples are ever refreshing. Beautiful pictures of Sister Pascalita's Whiteriver flash in my mind, but especially the graciousness of her family.

  22. Kklackner says:

    I am humbled by the vocation story of Sister Pascalita and realize that God's ways are wonderfully awesome and simple. I'm so proud to have had her presence among us.

  23. Don White says:

    I last spoke with Sister Pascalita in the early 1980's (?) when she was retired from teaching and involved in an other ministry and was at St John's in Komatke Village, AZ.
    I'm currently reading a book, Where Two Roads Meet, of being both Catholic and Native American, and I wondered what ever became of the Native Sisters who were my teachers in elementary school. So I googled the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and was surprised to learn of Sister Pascalita's recent passing. I guess I thought maybe one day I would travel to visit with her there in Wisconsin.
    Sister Pascalita was my 1st grade teacher at St John in Komatke Village, AZ.

  24. I was so blessed to live with Sister Pascalita in Yuma, AZ and here at our Motherhouse! Her lovely laugh and gentleness were gifts she freely shared with all of us!

  25. Nic says:

    Very interesting and uplifting. A story to motivate the most discouraged woman into action for the Lord.

  26. Spamelacatherine, novice says:

    What a beautiful vocation story of openness and willingness. One that calls me to an awareness of how simply God will speak to us, through the actions of others and through His creation. May we thank the Lord for igniting that spark within her and thank her for her “yes” allowing that fire to grow as she shared God's love with others.

  27. And apparently the story motivated a faith-filled gentlemen to comment here on Franciscanized World! Thanks.

  28. Thanks Don for letting us know how you found us! And thanks for letting us know your choice of reading material. May the Lord bless you and may Sister Pascalita continue to guide you as she did when you were in 1st grade!!!

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