Meet Sister Anna Hertel, SSMO
Submitted by Sr. Anna Hertel, SSMO
Recently I read an article on Skills for Celibacy in which a section on Skills for Generativity was included. It acknowledged that the ordinary expression of generativity is through parenthood, but the activity can take many other forms of care. The central notion is that of giving life.
Religious life has been an ongoing opportunity of giving life for me.
I began teaching first graders, when kindergarten was not mandatory. So I was the first to take these young children from their parents. It required that I give these young children the love and security to leave their parents.
Later, I taught eighth graders. By then I had the personal maturity to guide these young people, who were of an age to begin making choices, into making choices that would be life giving.
When I was almost 60, I was Pastoral Associate at a small coastal town. My work included youth ministry. I never apologized for being “old.” I realized how important the grandmother figure was to them: someone who would be there for them, listen to them, and care about them.
In my last Pastoral assignment, a third of my work was with the sick and elderly. Having been very sick at one time in my life, I could empathize with their suffering. I also found that my visiting and praying with the sick and dying also brought comfort to their family members.
I firmly believe that through the working of the Holy Spirit, that I have been able to “give life” to many people as a religious woman.