Sister Josephine Lomasney, DC, is a Daughter of Charity currently on mission in Emmitsburg, Maryland and ministering at Mother Seton School.
Seventeen months I have been on my first mission as a Daughter of Charity. And in some ways it has been quite the unusual first mission. You see, I lived here when I was in high school, from 9th to 11th grade. It is interesting to live somewhere where people remember me because, when I was growing up, my family moved every 2-4 years because my dad was in sales. Just a few months ago, after a Sunday Mass, an older couple stopped me and the husband asked me if I had lived here before. His wife had told him that I had but he didn’t believe her! I told him that she was right and she was so thrilled to say “I told you so.” I thought it was so funny to think that they had probably had this conversation right before Mass and had to have their answer ASAP!
I have enjoyed getting involved with the parish and the school that I am teaching at over the past year and a half. To be recognized and greeted, to see familiar faces and feel a sense of belonging. As I was teaching my fourth grade faith formation class one Sunday, we were talking about the Gospel writers and how God called them to do many jobs, one of those jobs was being an author, and they did that job as best as they could. So no matter what job God calls you to do, whether it is as a plumber, an electrician, a nurse, a farmer, a vet…do it to the best of your abilities. One of my students piped up and added, “And God called you to be our faith formation teacher!” Thank you for the reminder 😊
After school, I get to do aftercare with the third grade teacher and we tease about how we are so cool because we always have kids sitting on the bench and on the ground around the bench where we are sitting. Sometimes we have to almost literally get on our knees and beg them to go play and have fun with one another; they do not need to hang around us forever! Yet, my heart is always filled with love for these kids, and a sense of wonder. How did I earn the respect and trust of these precious children of God?
Even as a student rolls on the floor of the hallway, kicking the wall, doing somersaults, and throwing his ball of clay because he got sent out of the classroom for not doing as the teacher asked. Or when another kicks her supply crate around and refuses to pick it up, so she and I go for a walk, but when the school counselor offers to talk with her, she hides behind my back, clinging to me, acting all shy. I cannot help but be moved by compassion and care for especially the most difficult ones to handle.
I reflect on my own discernment journey and how I entered a different community right after high school and was asked to leave after only six months because I needed “more world experience.” I think of the pain of rejection I felt and the whirlpool of sadness I got sucked down into. Then I remember the sense of accomplishment that I got when I received my Associate’s degree, the laughter I shared with my coworkers at the bakery, the companionship I found at the brewing company where I bussed tables, and then the wonderful experience of teaching preschool, and the adventure of World Youth Day 2016! And how, during my WYD trip, I finally gained the courage to ask for an application with the Daughters of Charity and try again at this vocation I truly felt God was calling me to. And here I am 5 years later, 3 years as a Sister ❤ Thanks be to God for the ups and downs, times of rejection and times of acceptance, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of despair, through it all God has been with me and I will weather the storms and calm with Him in my heart. And wherever I am at the moment I will do my best; just like on Sundays from 9am-10am when I am called to be the fourth grade formation teacher!