Three Marian sisters visit the California campus

As part of an ongoing series of vocations visits, three members of the Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa — including one Thomas Aquinas College alumna, Sr. John Paul Maria (Michaella ’12) Pape, O.P. — visited the California campus last week. After touring the campus, they gathered in St. Cecilia Hall’s Dillon Seminar Room to offer a presentation about their order, its charisms, and their vocations to what they describe as “spiritual motherhood.”

Sr. John Paul Maria (Michaella ’12) Pape, MSSR.
Sr. John Paul Maria (Michaella ’12) Pape, MSSR

“Look at what God has given you, and look for that in others,” Sr. John Paul Maria advised students in St. Cecilia Hall’s Dillon Seminar Room. “Grace builds upon nature.”

Still, discerning a religious vocation “was hard, because I had spent so many years preparing myself for a marriage vocation,” Sr. John Paul Maria admitted. “It was very painful at the time, but it was very good. It has deepened me as a woman.”

The sisters recounted how they came to embrace their shared vocation despite following very different paths to religious life. They also described their new lives in religious community and their day-to-day responsibilities, such as serving in parishes, caring for their convent, and teaching. The sisters then opened the floor to questions.

“What was most striking about the sisters was their joy and intentionality of thought,” remarked Jacquelyn Ogden (’25). “Everything about them radiated God’s goodness! Listening to the way they described their vocation of spiritual motherhood, you could tell that it truly came from a place of deep love and relationship with our Father.”

Students listen to talk from the Marian sisters