Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Jane Kinate reminisces about her call to Franciscan Consecrated Life.
The first time I told someone that I was going to be a Sister was when I was five years old. It was summertime and my parents were getting ready for Dad’s aunt, Sister Alphonse Kinateder CSA, to visit us in Wrightstown. She could not come into our home so there was a lot of activity getting things ready outdoors and keeping five children ages 1-6 out of trouble. When Sister arrived, she asked me in a heavy German accent what I was going to be when I grew up. I told her a Sister. I honestly don’t think I realized then how that response would shape my life.
I am the second oldest of 10 children. My older sister celebrated her Golden Jubilee last year and I have four younger sisters and four younger brothers. Although the family later moved at the end of my freshman year, home for me will always be the big house along the Fox River in rural De Pere. Mom and Dad played, worked and prayed with us. Many baseball games were played in the “circle.” After supper we knelt down and prayed the rosary together. Visiting the cemetery in East Wrightstown where Grandfather Kinate was buried and praying for him is etched in my mind. Even if we did not stop there, we always prayed for him as we drove by. We attended church and school at St. Paul in Wrightstown.
The Sisters at St. Paul had a big impact on my life as a student and more importantly thinking about becoming a sister. They were so joy-filled and there seemed to be no limit about what they could do. Helping Sister after school gave us the opportunity to realize that they were ordinary people. The stories they must have heard! But they taught us that God loved us and had plans for each of us. For me that was to enter the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, WI.
High school at the Motherhouse was a happy experience. I did not suffer the homesickness of my older sister. How could I? Nancy was in school with me just like at home! The library in the Motherhouse was a marvelous place. The aspirants prayed in St. Francis Chapel and I loved it. There was much to discern about life and more importantly what God’s call meant for me. Was I really called to serve Him as a woman religious? As a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity?
These fifty years have been so grace-filled. The challenge has always been to ask God what He wanted of me instead of me telling Him what I wanted. There is no concern about the future because God is already there. The marvelous Sisters I have lived with deepened my faith and commitment. The people I have met along the way have taught me how much God loves me. Have I done the same for them?