Sr Sesilia Ioane: woman of faith, hope and trust

Sister Sesilia Ioane, from Samoa, is leader of the Sisters of Nazareth community at Nazareth House in Wynnum, Queensland. She says that young people seem to think that “nuns are not quite human.”

It’s clear that such young people have not heard her wonderful laugh, nor seen the remarkable work she does with the elderly and dying, nor the kind of effort she makes to help restore the chapel and convent at Wynnum.

Sister Sesilia has been involved in vocations promotion at Sydney’s WYD in 2008, and more recently at the Ignite Conference in Brisbane.

Young people ask such questions as: ‘What makes you become a nun?’ ‘What do you do all day?’ ‘Are you allowed to marry?’ ‘Do you get holidays?’

It was when she was 18 that Sr Sesilia began to discern whether or not she had a vocation. It meant detaching herself from her close-knit family of six sisters and four brothers, and from her many other relations.

“My decision was very hard for Dad. He really didn’t want me to enter religious life – I was his favourite daughter so we had a very close bond. My decision took him a while to accept. Also, unlike my mother, he was not a Catholic to begin with,” Sister Sesilia said.

She began thinking about the possibility of being a nun first of all because of a teacher who inspired her.

“I was taught by the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, an order with French connections, in Apia. A particular Sister, our music teacher, impressed me. She was very bubbly and outgoing and I began to wish I could be like her,” she said.

On the advice of Fr Patrick Kennedy, her spiritual director, she decided to join the Sisters of Nazareth and went to Christchurch at the age of 19. Read more



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News category: Asia Pacific.

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