Reflecting on vocation as I go into my 69th year in religious life, I recognize that God’s call comes at various times and in many ways. The first time for me was at age eight. I was intrigued by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon who taught catechism classes weekly at our mission church, and I wanted to be like them. Then at age 12, I learned of the Providence Sisters in a hospital setting. Their life was another way to be a Sister.
My call to a religious vocation was supported by my parents, who agreed to send me to a Catholic high school even though it meant I would be going to boarding school. At St. Mary of the Valley, I became acquainted with more Sisters of St. Mary Oregon and their way of life. A dear friend among the Providence Sisters took me to visit their motherhouse in Seattle, meet the novitiate members and attend a vow ceremony. I had also worked a summer job at Providence Hospital. Still, I was undecided about which community to join.
At 15, a junior in high school, I felt quite mature about making a decision. I had watched the dating game of two older sisters, and their joys and woes in seeking a husband. The young men called on them at the house and there was always family discussion about their suitability. I knew that marriage was not my chosen path. I had been away from home for two years at school, so that break had already been made.
I cannot explain how a strong call came to me so clearly to apply for entrance into the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. The when and how was not very clear, but I made a novena to St. Francis Xavier to finalize my aspiration, and on his feast day I met with Mother Genevieve. I entered the novitiate on January 1, 1943.
Through life, God has called me to deeper commitment—at times of profession of vows, of jubilees of 50 (and soon, 70) years. The changes of Vatican II in the 60s were a time of challenge and recommitment. The stresses caused many Sisters to leave religious life for other ways of serving God. By the grace of God, I remained in this community to follow His call.
I cherish the life to which God has called me to live with His Sisters who are my lifelong friends and family. Now in retirement, there is still ample opportunity for joyful service, a quieter time for prayer and for simplicity of living.
Jubilee 2018: Honoring Sister Angeline Sohler
In 2018, at age 91, Sister Angeline Sohler will celebrate her 75th Jubilee.