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Sr. Michael Ellen Carling, O.P. — Jubilarian 2023 – 70 Years a Sister

By August 25, 2023June 14th, 2024No Comments
(left to right) Sisters Lupe Silva, Mary Navarre, Irene Chrusciel, Maria Goretti Beckman, Michael Ellen Carling, and Regina Mary Goeldel celebrating at Sr. Michael Ellen’s 70th Jubilee dinner.

Three Promises to Keep

I dreamt a vow last night
and its name was Poverty – 
frightening in its austerity
until I woke to Plenitude

I dreamt a vow last night
and its name was Chastity –
frightening in its solitude
until I awoke to Love

I dreamt a vow last night
and its name was Obedience –
frightening in its consequents
until I awoke to Liberty

Three Promises to Keep written by our Sister Mona Schwind†, seems appropriate when the time has come to celebrate a seventieth jubilee as a Grand Rapids Dominican.

In the Summer 2022 issue of Occasional Papers, published by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the theme was Recapturing Our Original Love.

Mary Carling and Sister John Marie

Recently, I came across a photo that took me back more than seventy years and seemed to fit the above theme and the fact that sometimes the original draw comes through another person. This photo was taken on August 18, 1952, shortly before my coming to Marywood on September 8, 1952. I am pictured with Sister John Marie.

I first met Sister John Marie at St. Mary’s School in Muskegon shortly after V-J Day at the end of August in 1945. My friend and I went to school to help the new Sister who would be our seventh-grade teacher move the books, etc. from what had been the seventh grade classroom on the main floor to the classroom on the basement floor, which had been our sixth grade room the previous year.

Sister John Marie was an excellent teacher. She taught us how to diagram sentences, which I have used ever since. We also memorized the 48 (then) states and their capitals (which I cannot do now). But it was really during recess that we got to know her on another level. She played ball with us and even jumped rope once! She talked and visited with us and was very human.

She became my inspiration. I kept in touch with her and drove to see her shortly before entering, hence the picture. Sister John Marie and the Sisters at St. Mary’s led me to Dominican life.