Sister Catherine Therese Paulie finds great satisfaction in knowing
‘I am doing what God wants me to do’
Editor’s Note: The following is part of a continuing series celebrating the Year for Consecrated Life.
Sister Catherine Therese Paulie, CSJ
Years in Religious Life: 60
Parish Life Coordinator,
St. John Parish, St. John
Southwest Kansas Catholic: How did you know God was calling you to religious life?
Sister Catherine Therese Paulie, CSJ: Growing up for many of my pre-convent years in St. Paul Kansas, “vocation to religious life” surrounded us. The Passionist Monastery with the Novitiate for that community was so much a part of our parish. Those men were a reminder that God calls people into service.
Each year as school was drawing to a close, one big question was “who will not be here in the Fall because they will be in a convent or a seminary?”
When the centennial for St. Paul was celebrated, we also celebrated the names of 100 priests or members of religious communities who had lived in St Paul.
My father said often that he prayed that one of his children would become a priest or a sister.
Thus, religious life was “there” as a goal - it felt right - and it was really only a question of “when.”
What do you most like about religious life?
I am not quite sure that ‘like’ is quite the word. Each time I ponder “living religious life” there is the conviction that I am doing what God wants me to do. I probably wouldn’t be too good at anything else.
What do you find most challenging about religious life?
Being the best that I can be—Our charism for our community (CSJ) calls us to “the more” -- don’t just do what is asked or expected, but strive to do more – to give “the best.”
Were there times when you wanted to leave but through prayer and the grace of God you remained?
Yes, probably the evening before being received into the community was the day that stands out most in memory. We were on retreat at that time -- the whole community was praying for us.
What brings you peace, happiness, and fulfillment in living out your religious life?
I am grateful for time to pray, read and study. I have been blessed with ministries that have been most fulfilling and with people surrounding me who have challenged yet supported me.
How do you witness Christ to others in the church, society, and the world?
I am probably not the best witness. There are so many areas of need. All I could offer -- my involvement with parish work, with the RCIA process, and, hopefully, the community efforts here in St John.
We see religious life as ever changing. What have you done to keep up with the changing times?
My religious community provides so many growth opportunities. We are each to consider ourselves involved in leadership even though we may not be serving in an elected position. As far as possible, each sister is asked for input on major decisions. A person has to stay abreast of what is happening to respond intelligently.
What would you tell someone who was discerning a religious vocation?
Whatever you do, listen carefully to what God is saying. It’s a bit like the reading of last Sunday – “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”
After your many years of following your vocation, what would you like people to know?
The vocation that God has in mind is the one where the greatest inner peace and serenity will be found.