Time to Speak — How a religious sister influenced my life

The following essay, written by a seventh-grader, won first place in the Serra Club’s annual Vocation Essay Contest. Students were asked to answer one of several questions. The winner’s question and answer follow:

By Olivia Harner

Q. Which priest or religious brother or sister has most influenced you and how?

A. There are many people who have influenced my life as a Catholic. My parents have taught me right from wrong, and my teachers have taught me more and more about the life of Jesus. But the person who has influenced me most would be my fourth-grade teacher.

She was a religious sister, so she really had an impact on my religious life. Every day after recess, we would pray a decade of the rosary.  Then, in religion class, we would talk about the life of being a religious person or what it would be like if we could see our guardian angels.

Over time, I became interested in the life of a religious sister. Over time, I began to wonder what it would be like to be a religious sister.

I used to think that all religious sisters would do was pray and go to church. But over time, that image began to change. I learned that there were many things a religious sister could do.

I never thought they were able to play things (such as) tennis or volleyball, or go for walks in the park. I didn’t even know sisters could teach until I had one as a teacher.

Over time, it began to become clear to me that there were many vocations that I could live my life as when I grew to be an adult. All it took was a year with a religious sister as a teacher, and I knew more about living a religious life than I ever had before.

I see myself more open to Christ and sometimes I consider choosing a religious life when I grow up. That is how a religious sister influenced my life and how my life has been affected.

Olivia Harner is a seventh-grader at St. James School in Elizabethtown, Ky.
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