Sometimes, God’s call to his service comes to the most unlikely people and at the most unlikely time.
Take Sister Maria Angelina Medina. She was baptized and confirmed but had little contact with women religious when growing up. Her father was in the U.S. Air Force, the family moved often, and she was educated in public schools. She didn’t become closely acquainted with Sisters until she was out of high school and followed her family to Honolulu, Hawaii.
“Many of my friends there were still in high school, and they attended Sacred Heart Academy in Honolulu,” she said. “Several of my friends voiced a desire to become religious, to join the Sacred Heart Sisters.”
In search of her path, Sister Maria Angelina attended several “search” retreat weekends. Among the many wonderful people she said she met were Sisters of St Francis.
“They were so joy-filled,” she said. “And I read Johannes Jorgensen’s biography of St. Francis.” Hawaii’s beauty, long talks with a close friend who graduated from Sacred Heart, and growing friendships with Franciscan and Sacred Heart Sisters had an impact. But she was a year out of high school, working in civil service, living on her own and “enjoying my year of freedom.”
Then on New Year’s Eve, Sister Maria Angela was at a party. She called her mother and said she wanted to become a Sister of St. Francis.
“My mom wasn’t surprised,” Sister noted. “She said she knew that I was going to be a woman religious even though I was having all these experiences you have when you’re just out of high school.”
“Hawaii was so beautiful. God drew me to him through his beautiful creation. The Sisters loved me, and I loved them back,” she said. “I just felt called.”
Fifty years after she was received into the community, Sister Maria Angelina still feels called to do God’s work. Though she no longer teaches full-time, she reads to preschoolers, prepares high school students for Confirmation and maintains a Franciscan presence in Texas.
“It’s all God’s gift, you know,” she said. “I’m hoping I have many more years.”