Meet Sister Laura
Ministry: Chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital, Syracuse, N.Y.
Love, joy and gratefulness are what make being a Franciscan special for Sister Laura Hackenberg whose middle name happens to be Joy. “I have a very grateful heart and take nothing for granted. I take all as gift.”
Born and raised in Moon Township, near Pittsburgh, Pa., Sister Laura is the youngest in her family having both an older brother and sister. While considering the possibility of becoming a sister, she worked as an administrative assistant at FedEx.
Her first experience of religious life was meeting the Sisters of St. Francis at Mount Alvernia in Millvale, Pa. “I explored other congregations briefly, but was touched by the hospitality, peacefulness and joyful spirit of the sisters I met at Mount Alvernia. I felt a warm connection and was at peace. I felt that this is where God wanted me.”
During her time in formation, the congregation in Millvale was in the midst of merging with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities whose administrative offices are in Syracuse, N.Y. Sister Laura says although moving to the formation house in Syracuse was a real challenge for her, the support of her sisters in community enabled her to adapt. “I’ve met many sisters and had the great opportunity of living in four of the five regions (of the country) while in formation.”
On Aug. 10, 2013, Sister Laura made her final profession as a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. “There is a joy of being with sisters in community, being united in one purpose and mission, having a presence in the world and following in the footprints of Jesus.”
Currently she ministers as a chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. “I enjoy meeting a lot of different people of various ages. I connect well with the elderly and am touched by their faith. They have a lot to teach me.”
Sister Laura hopes to continue in graduate studies in clinical pastoral education at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y.
For anyone exploring the possibility of becoming a sister, Sister Laura has words of encouragement. “Accept the invitation of sisters to come to any event and get to know them. Be open to where God is leading you.”