Sister Catherine Therese Paulie, CSJ (Congregation of St. Joseph)
Joys/challenges? Being called to do ‘more’
Sister Catherine Therese is Parish Life Coordinator at St. John the Apostle Parish in St John and Pastoral Minister at St Bernard Parish in Belpre.
SKR: Why did you enter religious life?
Sister Catherine Therese Paulie, CSJ: The home and the community in which I lived are probably the primary reasons I entered religious life. I just knew that I wanted to give myself to the service of God and the works of the Church, but I had no real idea what that meant. Now, as I look back, I remember my Dad, night after night, as we were doing our home work, praying his rosary. He told me after I had finalized my application for religious life that he was praying that one of his daughters would go to the convent and maybe one of his sons would become a priest. Furthermore, anyone who knows about the history of St. Paul, Kansas, knows that it is the town that for years prided itself in having one or more of its high school graduates go to a convent or seminary. The presence of the novices of the Passionist Community kept families praying for religious vocations. That is why I think I have to say, I was ‘prayed’ into that decision. I thank God I was docile enough to respond to that push.
SKR: Why did you chose your particular congregation?
Sister Catherine Therese: The Sisters of St Joseph taught in the school in our town; they were very special women. I also have four cousins who are Sisters of St Joseph.
SKR: What have been your greatest challenges as a religious?
Sister Catherine Therese: My greatest challenge was/is being called to “the more.” That is to be the response of a Sister of St Joseph – to strive ever and always to do and to be “the more.” Every step of my religious life there seemed to be a gentle, persuasive push to do one more new thing. That happens to me almost every day.
SKR: What have been your greatest joys?
Sister Catherine Therese: Probably that would be my ministry. As I look at each of my places of ministry, I would have to describe them as a joy: I loved being an elementary teacher. Definitely my time at St. Mary of the Plains, bittersweet now, makes me joyful as I reflect on those memories. Moving those stained glass windows from that chapel to our Convent Chapel in Wichita, was extremely meaningful. Each of the parishes in which I have ministered became cherished spots with special people.
SKR: What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
Sister Catherine Therese: I have always been an educator (one who leads out). I started my ministry as an elementary teacher and just kept going. At SMPC, even the administrative part, was educating. In parishes work, I think that is mostly what I do.
SKR: Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of religious life for you.
Sister Catherine Therese: St. Paul (1 Cor 9:22) maybe says it most succinctly: “I have made myself all things to all in order to save some of them.” There is a lot in John Paul II’s letter on Consecrated Life that really speaks to the value of religious life: “Through the many charisms of spiritual and apostolic life bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit, they [consecrated men and women] have helped to make the mystery and mission of the Church shine forth, and in doing so have contributed to the renewal of society.”