Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 21, 2005
Simplicity of Holy Cross Sisters draws woman
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Sister Enid Williams was experiencing a difficult moment when she happened upon the Sisters of Holy Cross for the first time. They prayed together until Williams understood that to have serenity, she must put God in the centre of her life.
In her twenties at the time, Williams thought about joining the congregation, but decided she might better serve by continuing to assist the infirm.
"I felt the call, although I resisted it for quite awhile," said Williams, now in her temporary vows with the Holy Cross Sisters in Edmonton.
"I met the congregation while I was in Ontario and they were very supportive with what was happening at that time.
"Things were rough. They listened to me and challenged me to take steps to grow. I appreciated that," she said. "They were genuinely interested in me having peace within myself and a peace with God."
Originally from Kingston, Williams entered religious life in her thirties after many years as a nurse working in St. Catharines, Grande Prairie and Lac du Bonnet, Man.
"What attracted me to Holy Cross Sisters was their simplicity of living," she said.
The Sisters of Holy Cross trace their origins to the Congregation of Holy Cross, founded in the 19th century by Father Basil Anthony Moreau in Le Mans, France.
Williams continually crossed paths with the congregation. She never forgot how much they helped her.
The call came and went until she made it to Manitoba. Williams was performing home care, from babies to the elderly, when she began to seriously discern a religious life.
"I decided to do my postulancy. I did it over two years. I took my time," she said. "I went to the U.S. and volunteered with the sisters at a school where one of them was teaching. They wanted me to know what their congregation was all about. I was there for about three months. I did parish nursing, I gardened, took people to medical appointments - anything they wanted, I did."
Williams said the spirit within her, the congregation's generosity and a rich sense of belonging confirmed she was on the right path. She took her novitiate with a formation director in New Hampshire until she moved to Edmonton some 14 months ago.
"I acolyte, I read (Scripture) and I welcome people at St. Joseph's College at the U of A. I am deepening my call to Holy Cross. It is a great place to be."
Williams belongs to the congregation's vocation committee in Edmonton, meeting every three months to discuss what is happening with religious vocations and how they can support someone who might be hesitant to make a move to religious life.
"I would help them find a spiritual director. I would suggest they look around to see where their charism is because all of the communities have goodness and a love of Christ," she said. "We focus on the young, the poor and on women. We are educators."
"It is important to remember that all vocations are important. One is not better than another. Whether it is single, married or religious life, people should serve where they are being called."
Williams feels tremendous support. She enjoys meeting the older sisters and listening to their stories.
Renewing her vows of obedience, chastity and poverty is something Williams works on daily. She admitted there are moments where one can be more difficult than the others.
"To live them out I have to renew them. It isn't like a one-time deal," she said. "And I don't always make it. That is the human frailty."
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