Meet Sister Mary Jo Radey
Sister Mary Jo Radey
I never knew I was going to be Sister of St. Joseph!! I was
always figuring Id be married with five kids by now!!
But that was not the way the cookie crumbled! Im not
sure how it came to turn out so crazy but Im sure glad
it did... Id pity my husband and kids!! And boy, do
I love to be a CSJ!!
I guess things started to get a little tense around second
year university, when I was paying a lot of money for an education
that didnt seem to be going anywhere. I was getting
a general Arts degree that would seemingly only be good as
a prelude to being a teacher... and I NEVER wanted to be a
teacher!! I would never have the patience required to teach...
I knew that for certain when everything else was so uncertain.
Then one day on my way to class with a friend, we were talking
about some of our mutual friends from a common Youth Group
we attended, when all of a sudden she turned around to me
and said, "You know what Mary Jo? You're gonna be a nun!"
I never knew where she was coming from with that statement,
but I sure took it as an insult... some friend, I thought,
denigrating me to live the life of a shrivelled up ol
prune!! (You see, I didnt know any real nuns, so this
stereotype image was all I could envision!) I got so angry
with her, I stomped off to class without her and went about
my life... except that comment kept haunting me... "Youre
gonna be a nun."
I had to stop being so angry about the perceived insult
and start figuring out why it was staying with me... I had
to check it out. At that time there was a Sister working in
our Parish; she was a lot of fun and really approachable,
so I took a chance and called her. She knew me from the Youth
Group but we had never worked together and when she took my
call she went for the obvious, "Got a problem with your
boyfriend?" Gulp, "Nope, its about the other
end of the scale!" So she had me come in to see her to
explain that being a Religious was not about being a dried
up ol' prune... in fact, for those for whom the lifestyle
fits, it is a source of unending delight and pleasure. The
trick to the figuring it all out was to learn to pray... really
pray... not just say my prayers, which had kept me in good
stead for over twenty years at that point, but to start to
listen to what God was saying to me.
So I began to take Spiritual Direction from that Sister
and got to meet other Sisters of St. Joseph at the same time.
I discovered them to be a fun-loving group (who loved to party
just as much as I did), who lived diverse and meaning-filled
lives. My aimlessness during university started to dissipate
as I began to imagine what life might be like with these ladies.
I entered the Congregation as I completed my degree two years
later, whereupon it was discovered that I indeed did have
the gifts to be a teacher... and have had buckets of students
ever since for whom my patience never ran out!!
Never say never... no corporeal husband, but a Beloved who
loves me unconditionally and constantly surprises me with
gifts... .no kids of my own, but thousands and thousands of
young people who have lived community in my classroom in ways
their own parents would never know... .and as for that terrible
insult of being condemned to a life of desiccation... .it
was the greatest blessing I have ever received... .and I havent
met a dried up ol prune yet!!!!!! You never know which
way the cookie will crumble!
Sister Mary Jo Radey
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie
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