Recently, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie recalled the vocation story of Sister Magdalen Sipple. May it be another reminder of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in all of our lives as we await the celebration of Pentecost.
“One day when I walked past Sacred Heart Convent I saw members of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity enjoying themselves while playing piano and singing. I thought, this is the life for me. I felt I needed to do more with my life. They happened to have Mother of Perpetual Help Devotions at Sacred Heart Church. I made the Novena asking Our Blessed Mother what I should do. At the end of the Novena she gave me the answer – be a Sister. I spoke with Msgr. Schmitt, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, and he arranged for me to meet with the Sisters. That appointment was set for December 8, my mother’s birthday. That same day I decided to become a Franciscan Sister. This made my mother very happy. She had been praying that I would be a Sister. It was a great birthday gift to her.”
After Mary applied to enter the Community, she received a letter from Mother Perpetua saying that if she came by mid-January she would be received with the group preparing for Reception. January 20, 1940 at the age of 24, Mary took the train to Manitowoc. On Reception Day, June 13th she received the name Sister Magdalen. This was another joy for her since Magdalen was her maternal Grandma’s name.
Sister Magdalen was a home-maker all her active years in ministry in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Washington, D.C. She especially enjoyed the years of working in the bakery here at the Motherhouse. During these years she experienced a few needed changes. A well-used, screechy mixer was replaced with a new one. The task of grinding the whole wheat flour was given over to purchasing the flour already ground. This was a great time saver since grinding flour created a cloud of flour dust that was a real mess to clean up! The electric bread cutter, still in use today, was another wonderful purchase.
At the time of her 60th Jubilee Sister Magdalen wrote, “I’m very grateful that I joined the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. There are many Sisters through the years who have touched my life by their example. For this I am grateful. I feel privileged that the Lord gave me all these years, as unworthy as I am, in His service. I think it is a beautiful life and feel favored to be Spouse of Him Who loves me so much that He wishes me to become more like Him.”
Are you feeling the Holy Spirit is directing you in your own vocation? If you have questions about a call to be a Franciscan Sister, we invite you to contact us here.