If you are in the midst of vocation discernment, Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Juana Lucero shares her own reflection on God’s Call, God’s Will and God’s Grace.
God called me at a very young age in a very hot desert a very long time ago. God’s call reached my ears through the voice of Father Matthias, a Franciscan priest assigned to St. Ann Mission in Santan on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona.
Each Sunday morning my parents, Victor and Edith Lucero, would stop by the sacristy before Mass to greet Father and thank him for coming to offer Mass with us. And each Sunday, Father would look right at me and say, “You’re going to be a Sister, Aren’t you? At the young age of 5 I had no idea what a Sister was but I always said, “Yes, Father!”
My family, my parents and two sisters and one brother were at Church every Sunday and my parents were very involved in the life of the Church Community. The Mission priests would often stop at our home for meals and would visit with my family and pray with us.
In the summer of 1950 Father Hubert asked my parents if I could stay with the Sisters at St. Peter Mission Bapchule for a few weeks to find out more of what it means to be a Sister! I did and the “rest is history.”
During these 60 blessed years of religious life I have followed God’s Will in going to places I never heard of when I was growing up in the desert. Through God’s Will I received a marvelous education at our Silver Lake College of the Holy Family which prepared me to teach and to minister to people in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona. The children I taught and the people I’ve met have touched my life with love and given me the gift of being able to accept and love people of all cultures. In God’s Plan I’ve also had the blessing of acquiring a Master’s Degree from Arizona State University.
I left a small family in Santan to become a member of our large Franciscan Family in Wisconsin. Our Franciscan Family– the Sisters I ‘grew up with’ and the Sisters I’ve been ‘missioned with’ have blessed me with their friendship and prayer, with their stories, with their families, and with their love and I have grown!
During these sixty years of Franciscan Life I have learned that my putting my life in God’s love He has guided me and has lovingly taken care of me! In return I love Him back and grow more in His love.
God’s ‘best’ grace to me has been to work with “my people”, the Akimel O’Odham of the Gila River Indian Community. While missioned with our Sisters in Bapchule I was graced to daily teach and share the Pima Culture and Language with hundreds of Indian children. As an ‘Elder’ of the Tribe I have done my duty in passing on our values, traditions, customs, legends, songs, dances, prayers and language to the next generation.
I am now enjoying every moment of ‘retirement’ from active ministry and the extra time of prayer and reflection, reading and card playing that ‘retirement’ provides. I pray that the Community never runs out of YARN….because I now knit every day to help keep people WARM.
God’s Call has enriched me to BE. God’s Will has enabled me to SERVE. And God’s Grace enlivens me as I celebrate 60 Years of life as a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity!