Religious life is a life of faithful love. We have an example of this in Sister Leonilda Niberle, a Sister of the Sorrowful Mother who died this week. Sister was one of 8 children, all girls. Four of the 8 children answered the call to consecrate their lives to the Lord as Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. She came to America in 1951 and six months later, after and intensive English course, she was missioned to one of our schools. She enumerated her ministry experiences as follows:
· 1952—St. Francis Borgia School, Cedarburg, WI: Housekeeping, cooking & washing
· 1953--Bakerville, WI (another elementary school). People, she says, loved me at the church.
· 1953-1970—St. Clare’s Hospital, Denville, NJ. “I was in charge of the Diet Kitchen.”
· 1970-2002—In charge of food service at Our Lady of Sorrows Convent where "I prepared the meals and took care of the kitchen and dining room."
Her work as a Sister of the Sorrowful Mother was rich in that she lived an active/contemplative lifestyle. Whenever she was in the kitchen and whenever her scheduled allowed, Sister Leonilda found time to contemplative the Lord. She gazed on Him with love and He, in turn, gazed upon her. At the top of her description of her ministry in retirement, she wrote:
- Ministry of prayer at SSM Franciscan Courts
- “My most important ministry”
- “I like to pray in chapel a lot.”
- “Prayer is a blessing and help for others. I benefit spiritually as well.”
Is God calling you?