compassion - Related Content

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

Thursday, July 25th 2019 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

“Be humble and listen to everything around you.”


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?  


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,, and join the conversation.

Sharing courage to walk in darkness and light

Thursday, February 9th 2017 2:40 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


My time with television news at home or listening to the radio on my way to work has been full of sorrow and worry. There's been very little positive news woven into each broadcast. Sometimes I just need to turn it all off and pray for peace.

Yet I know, no matter what the issue is or where you may personally stand with it, it's important to be informed about what's going on in the world. There’s also intrinsic value in holding on to your heart in times that can feel overwhelming. God is always present: the way forward will be created as we all rally as a human family. When we watch for one side or the other to succumb to defeat we also lose sight of the Gospel call to love one another. Does love want others to lose in order for someone to win? Is being right more essential than being compassionate?

Is any of this uncertainty affecting your discernment?

I've yet to meet anyone who can say their time of discernment was filled with only light because, inherently, fear and discouragement are all around us; part of being human. But when we encounter situations that stop our progress even for a moment we can, and not just as an afterthought, invite God to come closer: to center us and walk with us and help clarify the call for us. Learning to rely on God's guidance is essential. And whether it be uncertainty of the world or religious life, sharing your disillusionment with close family or friends is also essential to finding light in oblivion. Faith, hope and love are the antidotes of fear.

And strength of character in the depth of your commitment is often revealed when you find ways to befriend your moments of challenge.


Karen Lueck, FSPA, joined a recent solidarity rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin

Our world is a wonderful example right now, because despite the gloomy surface-level appearance, joy continues. Couples fall in love, students achieve their dreams, and elderly see another generation added to their families. The human spirit cannot be contained. Love and joy will find ways to shine even brighter against the dark horizon.

How has joy triumphed over disillusionment in your discernment this week?

How will you bring hope to others?

Will you share your courage to keep walking, in a world of darkness, on the journey of discernment?



Tour Chapels
Explore our Ministries