My Calling - Sr Rachel's Story
My name is Sister Rachel. I am a Wellingtonian. My Father migrated from Italy and my Mother was a Polish refugee. They married and settled in Island Bay where they raised four children. I was bought up in a very strong Catholic family. I went to the local Catholic primary school, St. Madelaine Sophie and was taught by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. I went to St. Mary’s College in Wellington and was taught by the Mercy Sisters.
The idea of a Religious Vocation came to me at a very young age. I was attracted to the Mission and work of religious sisters. I wanted to be just like them. Deep within me there was a desire to serve God and God’s people. As I was growing up, this desire became stronger. It was as though a seed had been planted in my heart and it was growing.
One day one of our Priests in my family’s parish asked me the question, “Have you ever thought of a Religious Vocation?”. I smiled without answering and continued to think about my call to Religious Life. I belonged to the Legion of Mary among other things and one of my tasks was to visit the Home of Compassion. Each week I would go and help the Sisters with cleaning after School and on a Saturday I would help care for the babies in the nursery. I met one of the Sisters who was suffering from cancer in our Parish Church and I was inspired by her.
I was drawn to the Sisters of Compassion because of their simple way of life and their compassion for those most in need - the poor, the marginalised and those who had no one to care for them. I joined the Congregation in 1972. Since then I have had many wonderful experiences. My Mission working as a Sister of Compassion has been in caring for the elderly, the children in our childcare centre, the guests who come to the Soup Kitchen at the Compassion Centre, as well as Community and Parish involvement, Refugees and Migrants.
One of my highlights of being a Sister was my big trip overseas for a sabbatical year. I traveled to Italy where I made a renewal course. While I was in Italy I journeyed to my roots where I met my relations in Italy and Poland. My Dad, at age 84, joined me in Italy and took the opportunity to visit his sister. Dad and I traveled back to New Zealand together. It was a wonderful year for me.
I have a great passion for Vocations and I encourage Vocation Awareness by going into the schools to spread the message of Vocations, Religious Life and Mission. I encourage young people to give Religious Life a go, so that our Charism of Compassion and Mission will be alive in Wellington, in our Country and further a field. If you have a desire to serve God and God’s people why not take up the challenge.