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Sister Jacqueline Explains the "Gift of Cancer"

Our guest at Annunciation Monastery, Sister Jacqueline, shares about her cancer journey as she stays with us during her radiation treatments:


The Gift of Cancer

Sister Jacqueline Schroeder is a Franciscan sister from Peoria, IL. She ministers on the Standing Rock Lakota reservation in McLaughlin, SD.

Sister Jacqueline was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy in early March. With the possibility of chemotherapy looming in the future, she prayed that she would be able to surrender her resistance to God. She said that the day after she surrendered that resistance to God she found out she wouldn’t need chemotherapy. Rather, treatment would consist of four weeks of radiation therapy—20 treatments, five days a week.

As Sister Jaqueline and her religious community considered options for radiation treatment, a divine thought entered her mind. She knew the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery from prior stays as a guest and approached Sister Rosemary about the possibility of staying at Annunciation Monastery while receiving treatments at the Bismarck Cancer Center. Sister Rosemary consulted prioress Sister Nicole Kunze and they welcomed Sister Jacqueline to stay.

“It is such a huge grace being here with the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery,” says Sister Jacqueline. “Not only for the sake of being here and not having to drive back and forth, but also to be in community and pray and have meals with the sisters. God is in all of that. Being surrounded and enfolded in God’s love is evident with the sisters here, in the love and prayers of my Sisters in Illinois, the community at Standing Rock and those who work at the Bismarck Cancer Center.”

Sister Jacqueline is at peace with her diagnosis and treatment. She refers to her experience as “the gift of cancer.” She explains, “I always remember that God only gives us good gifts. I can honestly say that this cancer is a good gift because it has taken me deeper into that spiritual journey of surrender. We are all called to surrender our entire being to God. This is another opportunity to surrender everything to Him. Life is a continual letting go and dying to self. I saw myself as strong, healthy, capable and immune, and now I have let that go and understand the reality of my own vulnerability. And that is also a gift that I can rejoice in. God didn’t create us to stay here, on this earth. He created us for so much more. And whether I’m here or in heaven, it is good. God is good!”