Sister Ewa Pliszczak
When I was young I saw my grandfather kneeling after work near the table praying the rosary. I was looking at him and I heard grandmother calling him to come to bed, that he was too tired. I knew there was something special in this action of prayer. I was about 10 at the time. After that, when I was a teenager, my grandmother used to take me to the church and once she pointed to the picture of Our Lady and told me ‘this is your mother’ which I did not understand at the time but for the next four years I walked on pilgrimage for a week to the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. There I heard one sister talking about love. I thought ‘what does a sister know about love’. It got me thinking and I found a book about God’s love. My father caught me reading this book and joked ‘you are going to be a nun’. This shocked me and threw the book down. (All these years later I found this book on the internet. It was the letters of Nicodemus by Dobraczynski). Then Father Jurczyga, SVD, came to our parish from Papua New Guinea and talked about their mission and his life there. I was listening to him in our youth group with my brother present and so I was shy to ask questions about sisters so I paid attention to where he was staying and I went there to the SVD House in Nysa and met him. I asked him about a congregation for women and he pointed to the house across the road. Across the road are two convents, one is our cloistered branch and one is the active missionaries. I attached myself to this cloistered branch and prayed with them and they prayed for me for one year. I did not really feel called to be a contemplative and so I returned to Father Jurczyga and he directed me to the active order which is the Servants of the Holy Spirit. I felt called to this branch. At home no one knew about my search but at the church every Sunday father prayed for vocations. When I announced that I will go they took it as a joke and my brother fell off the chair laughing. My mother did not rest but went to investigate what this life was all about. Finally my mother and brother took me to the convent – it was too painful for my father so he stayed at home. I have been in the convent now since 1995 and I could not have planned a better life for me. I am a counsellor and I love working with the youth and I love to be with people.
The witness of other sisters and people and my prayer life have helped me to be happy and faithful in my religious missionary life.
Sr. Gini George SSpS
I come from Koodalappad, a village in the southern state of Kerala in India. My childhood was blessed with the presence of my parents, brother and sister. Until the age of ten I had the company of my grandmother who lived with us. I still can remember my daily morning journey with her to the church and back home with an occasional visit to the teashop on the way, where I got a sweet bun and a glass of milk. I always felt very close to the church not only geographically but also emotionally as the daughter of a sacristan. My father is very dedicated and loves the church as he loves home.
I attended the Catholic primary school in my parish but had to complete my schooling in a Government school where 96 percent of my classmates were Muslims. As a child and teenager I loved the Sunday catechism class. From my early childhood I had a desire to become a sister. I took a sort of liking towards the Preshitharam sisters who came to teach catechism from another place as we did not have any congregation in my parish. It is only later that the Holy Spirit Sisters bought a house close to our church. I was also fascinated by the long white habits and cheerful faces of the Franciscan sisters whom I met in the hospital in town. When I completed my high school at the age of fifteen I decided to join the Carmelites with whom I had contact. However the idea of being a missionary brought me to the SSpS family. Having lived for seventeen years in the convent I feel grateful for my call and feel blessed.
It is the moments I spent with God, personally and communally, and my positive outlook towards life that sustain me in my life as a religious missionary. I acknowledge the support and encouragement of my family, congregation and friends in living my life faithfully.