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Back in the classroom: Sisters say the students ‘respond to love’
When she was in college, Sister Maria Suso spent her Friday and Saturday nights at Florida State University researching religious orders. “That’s how I knew something was up, when I spent time surfing convent websites,” she says. Eventually, she attended a retreat with the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.
“There is this misconception that religious life is an acceptable choice if nothing else works out,” Sister Maria Suso says. “If I was dating someone and I said, ‘I really think I’m going to marry this man,’ you wouldn’t say, ‘I think you should shop around.’”
Upon graduation, Sister Maria Suso joined the order and spent three years studying faith and formation before attending Eastern Michigan University to receive her teaching certificate in English and biology – a degree she now puts to good use in the classroom teaching English at Lansing Catholic.
For Sister Louis Marie Zogg, her interest in the sisterhood was sparked in high school, but flourished while an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame.
“I was dating a guy that I thought I was going to marry,” she says, “but I realized that he wouldn’t be enough for me. None of my guy friends would be enough for me.”
Her realization prompted her to look further into religious life. After a retreat with the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Sister Louis Marie, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa native, “fell immediately and completely in love” with the community and the sisters, and understood her calling.
“God was inviting me to take a leap of faith,” says Sister Louis Marie. “I visited only one community and knew it was where God was leading me.”
After two years at Notre Dame, Sister transferred to Eastern Michigan University to finish her degree in secondary education with a focus in biology. She took over the chemistry duties at Lansing Catholic.
Mother Mary Assumpta, OP, Superior of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist of Ann Arbor, assigned Sister Maria Suso and Sister Louis Marie to teach English and chemistry, respectively, at LCHS during the 2014-2015 academic year. Mother Mary Assumpta also assigned two other sisters to teach at Resurrection school in Lansing.
“We take vows of obedience, and we understand obedience in a very beautiful way,” says Sister Maria Suso. “We receive our assignments from our Superior, and we can understand that as being the will of God for us because we know that authority comes from God.”
“Part of what’s exciting about this assignment is that it’s our community’s first year in Lansing,” Sister Maria Suso says. “Everyone has been so welcoming to us, at Lansing Catholic and at Resurrection. It’s a beautiful fit for us.”
And although the sisters are relatively young, they feel welcomed and respected by Lansing Catholic’s students.
“One thing, no matter the time or the culture, is constant: the human heart is always restless for truth. And we tell them the truth,” says Sister Louis Marie. “So they do listen to us.”
“The kids respond to love – people do. They always will. Because they know that you’re seeing the truth about them.”
Although Sister Louis Marie has left Lansing Catholic to continue her studies at the Catholic University of America (replaced by Sister Stephen Patrick), both sisters hold the LCHS community in their hearts. While their transient lifestyle can be challenging, it is integral to the work of the order, and ultimately, to the sisters’ service.
“We are human, so naturally we’ll miss the people that we’ve grown to love,” Sister Louis Marie says. “But these assignments grow our hearts. It’s not like we’ll leave a place and never miss those people. We think we have big ideas and big plans, but God is leading us into greater plans and bigger things,” she adds. “If we don’t follow him, we’ll never know what he has planned.”
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For more information on discerning a vocation to consecrated life, contact Dawn Hausmann, director of consecrated vocations, at 517.342.2506, or visit www.dioceseoflansing.org/vocations.