Meet Our Sisters

Sr. Helen Kilzer

Sr. Helen Kilzer

"After college graduation, I became aware of another existence - the life of the SPIRIT. Time has whizzed by ever since ... Europe, Mexico, Quebec ... every new experience filled me with greater awe for His work and greater excitement for what there was yet to be learned - and loved."

Some nuns, I'm sure, always knew they were called to be Sisters even as little girls. Not I - at least not until I got into Sister Baptista's 8th grade. She had a heart and she loved history and had she suggested it, I am sure I would have had a "vocation" on the spot.

At home we were 11, a great arena for instilling a keen sense of justice. Not a piece of cake was cut, nor a job assigned but was put into the balance of "...but I did it the last time" or the inevitable "How come...?"

Not all was a matter of survival, however. Home was where I gradually absorbed the values that have in some way undergirded every subsequent decision I was to make: a sense of justice, (I was the middle one in the family!); honesty, from a Dad who wouldn't take a nickel that wasn't his in more than 60 years of selling Ford cars; thrift, but not miserliness, from a Mom whose patches were "honorable"; interest in the whole world from our after-dinner family discussions that always interfered with getting the dishes done on time; and love - yes, I guess it was that - love of each other after the fray of the battle subsided and we lingered over Mom's desserts, telling and retelling family stories.

Religion? I don't think we were a particularly religious family; lots of other families went to the 6:00 Mass every morning. True, Dad made sure we put our dimes into the Sunday collection as soon as we were able to buy our own pop sickles, but we draped our weary bodies as sleepily as many others over chairs during the family rosary in Lent. But there were also the Sunday Vespers chanted by the Benedictine monks, the incense, chant and pageantry of the Pontifical High Mass, the free days to celebrate the Feast of St. Benedict and -well, before you knew it you were off to college, scared stiff but tremendously excited by the ideas which swept you right out of your tiny world and catapulted you into the inspirational sphere of Dorothy Day, the Baroness de Hueck, philosophers and historians as you prepared to be a secondary school teacher. Yet somehow you knew you would never be satisfied with being a teacher only...

After college graduation, I entered the novitiate, the first major step in becoming a Benedictine Sister. The treasures of Benedictine history, spirituality, liturgy, chant and much more were opened up; I became aware of another existence - the life of the SPIRIT.

Time has whizzed by ever since... teaching junior high school kids (how I loved them!) administration, senior high teenagers, college students... Europe, Mexico, Quebec... every new experience filled me with greater awe for His work and greater excitement for what there was yet to be learned - and loved. One lifetime is really much too short for all there is to do and be and become!

 

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