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Meet Sister Lorraine Malo

It is only in love that the human heart is happy and in loving action that fulfillment and peace reside

BACKGROUND

Sister Lorraine Malo

Sister Lorraine Malo

My life began on a beautiful June Sunday in a small farming community in Manitoba. My life has been blessed, even from day one, since my mother once told me that I seemed to enjoy being born! (Is that possible?) I was the last child of nine, although my mother had already lost two of her children, so we grew up seven. Our life was a simple one - family, home, school, and church were the mainstay of our days. We moved to Winnipeg when I was three and then a second move to Vancouver when I was eleven. It is here that I first met the Sisters of St. Joseph and looking back, I realize that I probably fell in love with them at that time. They seemed to be such a happy group at St. Patrick’s school and I wanted, even at that early age, to share their joy.

When I was about seventeen, the desire to do something meaningful with my life became stronger, and after some years of struggle against the idea of becoming a nun, I finally decided that I would have to at least give it a try for a few months if I was ever to have any peace. I presented myself to the Sisters of St. Joseph and was honestly surprised that they took me in! I think I had listened too much to the teasing of my brothers who kept saying that I would never be accepted because I was too noisy, I liked the boys too much, I was ‘worldly’, not holy enough, etc., etc., etc. Well, any time I got lonely during those first years of adjustment, I determined that my brothers would never be able to say; “I told you so”, and so I stayed! Almost fifty years later I am grateful that my brothers were wrong!

MINISTRY PROGRESSION

Like many of our Sisters, my early years were spent teaching elementary school. Eventually, I went back to university and it was during that time that one of my courses offered a placement in a hospital chaplaincy programme. I relished that ministry of presence and listening to people when they were at extremely vulnerable points in their lives, and after further training, I worked as a hospital chaplain for many years.

TURNING POINTS

Somewhere along the line, the desire to serve the poor in more concrete ways surfaced in my heart, and like the call to religious life some years before, it just wouldn’t go away. I knew that I’d have no peace until I did something about it. One of our sisters was working in Haiti at the time and I decided that I would take a leave of absence from my job and travel to Haiti for a six-month trial. The rest is history! I fell in love with that poor country and its courageous people. I now work in a children’s hospital in Port-au-Prince and feel truly blessed to be there. I do a variety of things - teaching in the hospital classroom in the afternoons, being ‘pharmacist’ once a week at a clinic in one of the poorest slums of the city, spending time in the mornings with the critically ill children and their parents. For the first time in my life I feel I am doing what my heart has wanted to do for a hundred years! I would not trade places with anyone and feel that I am right where God wants me to be.

WHERE ARE YOU TODAY

Just by coincidence, I leave tomorrow to return to Haiti after a six-week furlough. I’ve enjoyed a wonderful holiday with family and friends and I return refreshed, renewed and ready for action! Sometimes people ask what keeps me going in Haiti. How do I maintain a sense of hope amidst the suffering and misery of this poor country? For starters, I know that I would not last one minute in Haiti if it were not for the realization that I am loved beyond measure by our gracious God. Secondly, our senior Sisters, whose ministry now is one of prayer and presence, assure me that not a day passes that they do not remember me in their prayers and hold me in their hearts! Thirdly, I feel sustained and strengthened by the awareness that my pitifully small efforts are helping people whose lives are a daily struggle for survival. Believe me, if anyone was to ask me to take a Satisfaction Survey I know I would top all the charts!

My message to any of you who might be reading this web page is to follow your heart. If you feel any desire to serve and want to experience fullness of life in every way, come and join us. It is only in love that the human heart is happy and in loving action that fulfillment and peace reside.

 

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This page was last modified on Friday, July 7, 2006.
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