I tried running from God

When Sister Carmel Rojek reflects on her call to the religious life, she describes it as a metanoia, or conversion, experience. “I had never entertained ideas of becoming a religious,” she said. “But gradually through my young adult life, I started to ask myself questions about existence.” She remembers looking out the window, watching the traffic and asking philosophical questions: Where is everyone going? Where are they rushing to? What is life all about? Is this all there is? “There has to be more than this,” she thought. She started frequenting her for Mass, but especially, during the afternoon when she would sit thinking for long periods. She describes it as a time of great personal upheaval of her values and how she saw things. She found myself herself being inexorably pulled to Jesus Christ. “At first I thought (or wanted to think) that God was calling me to greater service to others,” she recalls. “I remember thinking that maybe I should join the then ‘Peace Corps’ movement which would be a rather limited commitment to serve others.” She came to the conclusion that she was fooling herself and trying to run from God, from a greater relationship with God. “I chose Jesus Christ as my personal savior,” she says. “God called. I was sure. And the best way I knew to realize this was to become a religious sister. This would be a total commitment as I understood it.”

Through the years, Sister Carmel has served in nursing and catechetical work. She is now a caregiver helping the elderly in their homes. She also participates in prayer ministry and as a sacristan for the congregation. Sister Carmel became a Sisters of St. Joseph after transferring from the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi in Massachusetts.

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