Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 26, 2007
Ursuline shares her gifts across continents
Always a contemplative, Sr. Geraldine Kelly took time to find vocation
By BILL GLEN
"I didn't want some dead-end job or a relationship that is going nowhere."
- Sr. Geraldine Kelly
"Once I've discovered something and reflected on it a little bit, I like to put it out there with other people. It gets them thinking and reflecting."
Entering religious life was not something Kelly considered until her teens. Her parents used to say she and her brothers should look at all the vocations before they chose one.
Her Grade 1 teacher at St. Anthony's School was an Ursuline - Sister Maura Carey, now in her late 80s and living in south Edmonton.
When Kelly was 15, there was a large vocation display in St. Albert. Her parents invited Kelly to come along. She declined, thinking it would be of little interest. When her parents returned, they told her they had met Sister Maura. That inspired Kelly to go herself.
At the time, the sisters took in boarders. Kelly moved in for a year and attended Mount Carmel School. She decided the sisters were great people, but a religious life was not for her.
Kelly returned home to finish high school when a girlfriend, who was living with the sisters, entered the order. She asked Kelly to come and spend a weekend. Kelly said on that weekend she found a deep happiness.
"I saw a number of adults around me who were not particularly happy. I didn't want some dead-end job or a relationship that is going nowhere.
"I knew that when I was with the sisters, I was happy. Why would I turn my back on it?"
After six months, Kelly determined she had never been happier.
After Kelly taught for two years, the order asked her to consider youth and vocation ministry. She got involved in retreat groups around Edmonton and worked at the parish in Sherwood Park. She served as director of Star of the North Centre for two years before receiving a call asking her to come and serve the order from France.
In 1991, she went and stayed for nine years. She travelled to Western Europe, Cameroon, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador.
Living a religious life is much more than she ever expected, she said. "Having been able to serve in an international situation was amazing, and it doesn't stop just because I came back to Edmonton. I keep in touch with the sisters and what is going on with them."
In their west-end home once a month from October to May, Kelly and two other sisters host Life Choices, a two-hour session of prayer and discernment for men and women. Some 15 people aged 20 to 40 now attend the two-hour sessions.
"We always make sure we have 20 to 30 minutes of prayer time with them because important things happen in that time. They share something about their lives and their search.
"Many of them have a career but they haven't found happiness. They are looking for something more."
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