Sister Rita Mae to discerners: talk, explore, pray

By Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA on Thursday, October 17th 2019


"Check out different congregations, and talk with people you love and trust."


FSPA celebrates 2019 jubilarian Sister Rita Mae Fischer. 

Inspired by stories of heroic missionaries and growing up in a strong Catholic community, Sister Rita Mae Fischer began pondering what could be possible for her life if she too followed God’s call.  She bravely took action by choosing to enter religious life after graduating from high school. Her own adventures have taken her to many new places. As Sister Rita Mae now celebrates her 70th jubilee, Show me a sign has asked her to reflect on her life of service according to Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration’s mission.  

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

Sister Rita Mae:
I had several strong influences that helped me to decide:

  • Reading stories of missionaries.
  • My exemplary Catholic parents.
  • Visiting with Benedictine sisters who taught in my high school.
  • My extended-weekend visit (and traveling by train with a group of friends) with the sisters at St. Rose Convent.
  • Praying at St. Rose in the balcony of the Adoration Chapel.  

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

Sister Rita Mae:
My family and friends were happy. However, since I was the oldest girl in the family, it was my mother who missed me the most after I left for St. Rose Convent.


Sister Rita Mae, FSPA class of 1949

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

Sister Rita Mae:
After eight years of teaching in Wisconsin and in the state of Washington, I went to Canton, Mississippi. I taught in Canton in the 1960s and, as the culture was vastly different from the one I’d experienced, I struggled to understand. Eventually, my teaching ministry of seven years there flourished. I treasure the communication I still have with my former students, some whom I taught 40 to 60 years ago.

Show me a sign:
Of the ministries you have served, are there any you hold closest to your heart?

Sister Rita Mae:
I have two favorite ministries: teaching primary grade children and ministering in school libraries.  


On the day of her jubilee celebration, Sister Rita Mae receives a corsage from FSPA Mission Councilor Sister Karen Kappell.

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

Sister Rita Mae:
Pray about it, check out different congregations, and talk with people you love and trust.

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

Want a glimpse into the lives of other FSPA who share their own discernment stories and answers to questions like "How will religious life affect my relationships?" and "What if my family doesn't agree with my choice?" Check out Show me a sign's discernment video series Meet our sisters

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Mary Frances Hester Bley Says:
10/18/2019 6:54am
Sister Rita Mae Fischer was my second grade teacher at St. Augustine in Spokane, Washington during 1959-1960. In late 2011, after retiring from the Library of Congress after 28 years as a reference librarian, I began pondering who had the greatest influence on my life as a teacher. To feel God's Love pouring through Sister Rita Mae surrounding us every day was a profound privilege and enduring spiritual gift of joy. Thank you, Sister Rita Mae! I am so grateful for your presence in my life then and now!

ikaomtul Says:
10/29/2023 5:16pm

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