Sr. Janet Zander
"As the season unfolded I came to a reluctant awareness that perhaps God was calling me and that I should at least give religious life a try."
In a family where I was the oldest of nine (one sister and seven brothers) and where being Catholic included the nurturing of faith through liturgical and devotional practices at home and in our parish of St. Joseph's Mandan, ND, I came to know a God of relationship, active in our lives. It was this God who had already called my mother's brother and her three cousins to be priests and who had called my dad's sister to be a Benedictine Sister. They added verification to the "given" that Catholic kids had three options--marriage, the single life, and religious life or priesthood.
While that seemed "simply" so in the early grade years, by the time I got to junior high and high school, I dismissed the latter option as a possibility for me. However, Sister Helen Kilzer, my eighth grade teacher, was steady in keeping that uncomfortable option before me. Not willing to be receptive to the possibility, I went on to make other plans and after high school graduation took a job in a farm credit agency. In the course of Lent that year I observed our family Lenten practice of daily Mass. As the season unfolded I came to a reluctant awareness that perhaps God was calling me and that I should at least give religious life a try.
That was in 1960. The subsequent years have been and continue to be ones of growing awareness that each of us, myself included, would not seek God if God were not seeking us. "God first loved us." That awareness was heightened in the course of further education in theology (liturgy) and several ministries as elementary teacher, secretary and liturgist at Annunciation Monastery, pastoral minister in Dickinson and as assistant to the President of the University of Mary. The dynamic of finding God, and being found by God continues to be a process of discovery. The Benedictine vision is that this discovery process happens through prayer, reflective reading, the events of each day, wisdom shared with the sisters in the community, colleagues in service, family, friends and the wider church and world.
*Sister Janet currently serves as secretary to the prioress, Sister Nicole Kunze.