Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 7, 2008
Sister placed herself in the hands of God
Mulholland renews her religious commitment daily
By LASHA MORNINGSTAR
"Live each day and each day be present to the needs that are there."
- Sr. Gertrude Mulholland
Sure there were doubts. "I would go through the pros and cons and wonder 'Is this really where God is leading me?'
"You place yourself in God's hands. And some days you would think to yourself, 'This is really difficult.' But I remember one of our sisters saying the commitment needs to be made every day. It is ongoing. Say each day to God, 'I give myself to you.'"
After four and one-half years, Mulholland made her permanent commitment to be a Sister of Charity.
After two years of study at teachers college, Mulholland taught grade school in the Maritimes and Grade 4 to 9 math and science in Wetaskiwin.
The sister went on to study for her master's degree in spirituality in Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and she also has a master's in religious education from Boston College.
"This gave me the background for over 30 years of parish ministry," explains Mulholland.
She also was part of the archdiocesan catechetical team, serving in rural areas for six and a half years.
Mulholland lends her talents as spiritual director and facilitator at retreats and workshops.
Most of her ministry has been in small towns and rural areas.
So she knows whereof she speaks when she says one of the greatest needs is "ministry to those who are far away, giving ongoing formation. They need people to go out to them to give formation in their faith and formation in their leadership so they can be leaders in their parishes."
Presently a pastoral assistant at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Sherwood Park, Mulholland says she still goes out to a couple of parishes "just because there is a need there."
So what has life as a woman religious given her?
"I have grown personally, spiritually and in my relationship with God."
In her work as a teacher, in parish ministry and religious education, she says, the "key focus for me is people.
"People are much more important than all the paperwork that you do."
She slips back during her explanation to St. Vincent de Paul, her order's patron.
"He wanted women out of the convent, telling them 'Your cloister is a city street.'"
Given that foundation, Mulholland says: "That is what I try to do today. Be a presence. More than what I do is who I am, being that presence of God for people and helping them to recognize how God is present in their lives, walking with them, leading them."
Mulholland has been a sister for almost 48 years. And what of the future?
Her answer is quick and direct. "Live each day and each day be present to the needs that are there."
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