Sister Maryanne Beeler (pictured with Sister Hilda Maria Reynoso)
I told myself that I was going to stay for a minimum of one year in order to get a clear picture of how my life would be. Looking back, I’m glad I made this promise to myself because I don’t think I would have made it past the first month any other way. I started missing my home and my independence immediately.
There were times when I had questions about the culture and if I truly fit in. The openness among the sisters was such a blessing because we could share with each other our needs and emotions. I grew to love the life and made my first vows in 1989. I was transferred to Sun Valley, in the San Fernando Valley after my vows, staying six years in the Los Angeles area. As a novice, I had the opportunity to meet Mother Teresa of Calcutta. That same year, our Holy Father John Paul II came to Los Angeles and I attended his Mass with over 100,000 people. I really felt the family of the church in those precious moments.
In Sun Valley, I taught Third Grade at a time when the Rodney King riots ripped apart so much of Southern California. Even our students got caught up in gangs. After a drive-by shooting, I saw a child die at my feet. In spite of the tragedies, I continued to love teaching and, was so happy and proud when I was asked to become the principal of John Paul II School in Sacramento. Then my life changed. The day after Thanksgiving, I was blessed with an auto accident. I say blessed because it was while I was in the hospital that doctors discovered a tumor in my left lung. After surgery and chemotherapy, I was given a one percent chance of living five years. I prayed and said to God “Well, whatever you say…”
As the school year ended, I learned that the cancer had spread to my brain. Once again I told God that it was in His hands. During this time I never prayed for myself, I just asked God to let me last longer for my 91-year- old dad. He had already lost two sons. My father died in January 2010.
I am searching to find out what God wants me to do now. I can’t be active in our ministry anymore, so how do I serve Him? Right now I want my story to do the talking. I try to encourage people I have met who are sick and share with them my story and tell them to never to give up. Prayer is a powerful thing. I have people from all over the world praying for me. I know it works! And I know that my life as a Sister Servant of the Blessed Sacrament, a life of adoration, prayer, work and service, has sustained me. I am blessed, no matter what happens.
Sr. Maryanne passed on in 2013. We are blessed to know that she is eternally well and happy in our Lord’s arms.
Are you questioning the path you’re on, the choices you’ve made? That yearning may be God’s way of inviting you to explore and see if the religious life is right for you. Women between 17 and 35 years of age are invited to join us for vocation sessions.
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