Sister Donna to discerners: "Get out there. Try something adventurous."

By Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA on Thursday, July 25th 2019


“Be humble and listen to everything around you.”

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Donna Stevens, FSPA: 50 years of ministry as a woman religious

Life is ever-changing. Perceptions of who we are develop over time as we gain confidence in the transition. Sister Donna recalls that some did not believe she would last one week in the convent.  

Now, as she celebrates 50 years of vowed religious life, Show me a sign has asked Sister Donna to share her journey of discernment and ongoing commitment as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration.  

Show me a sign:
How did you know that you wanted to be a sister?

Sister Donna:
I didn’t really know what I wanted, but the idea came in 8th grade because I adored my teacher, Sister Martha. She talked with me after school while we waited for mom to leave work and pick me up. She also gave me fun books to read. It wasn’t until many years later that I really chose religious life, and it wasn’t easy for me. I still choose to live it every day. It’s never been a “done deal” for me. 

Show me a sign:
How did your family and friends react when you first told them of your desire to become a religious sister?

Sister Donna:
My family and friends and just about everyone I knew didn’t believe it. The general reply was “You will not last one week!”

Show me a sign:
As you reflect on your jubilee, what facets of serving as an FSPA first come to mind?

It’s when I return to our motherhouse, St. Rose Convent, after being away on mission for a while, and receive a warm welcome from others. I love coming home and recharging! I also love the liturgies in Mary of the Angels Chapel, when we all lift our voices in prayer and song. It fills my soul. I don’t get much of this where I minister. I mostly spend my time nurturing folks; showing hope, compassion and tenderness.  

Show me a sign:
What has been your favorite ministry and why?  

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Sister Donna with two friends at the Butterfly Treatment Drop-In Center (image courtesy of Butterfly Drop-In Treatment Center)

Sister Donna:
I am fortunate that I have truly loved every ministry that I have been engaged in. I truly loved nursing and I truly love what I do now in healing the broken-hearted as a therapist.  

Show me a sign:
What advice would you give women discerning religious life today?

Sister Donna:
I would encourage women not to be afraid. Get out there. Try something adventurous. Be humble and listen to everything around you. You will hear what the Creator is inviting you to be.  

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

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Comments

Jane Petrie Says:
08/01/2019 10:36am
For OVER 55 yrs of knowing you to... throughout our journey at HFC, being in "The Cape 6", guitar Postulancy singing group, visiting w/you at St Paul's Home in Kaukauna when you were a nurse there with Sr Owen, my eighth grade teacher and seeing you enjoy your ministry on AZ, you have inspired me. Luv ya Donna and may the coming years be as fruitful and luv-filled as the last!!! ⛪🎉👍💞

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