Sister Gladys Story

My name is Sister Gladys, I am born and bred in Kenya. My primary and secondary education was done in Kenya. I left Kenya after my O’level education and spent 7 years in Nigeria. 

After that, I went to Greece to work as an Au pair looking after 2 children aged 9 and 11 years and doing housekeeping in-between time. I did this job for 3 years and during that time, I was able to assist and support my parents financially in educating my younger sibling. 

My employers were Americans working in Greece and they were very good to me. I was very happy in this job and I got on very well with every one of them especially the children. But then I thought that I cannot spend my life cleaning somebody else’s house for the rest of my life and as much as I enjoyed what I was doing, I felt I needed to move on. As I was deliberating on which course of action I was going to take, I saw an advert in an English paper indicating it was possibility of doing nursing studies in England for free. FREE! 

So I jumped to this tempting opportunity and I showed the advert to my employers. They could not believe it themselves and they said: THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. They wanted to know if my move was financially motivated and offered to increase my wages. But since wages was not the motivating factor, I declined their offer.  They gave me their blessing and told me that I could come back if things do not work out for me in London. So I left Greece and went home to inform my parents on what I wanted to do. They too gave me their blessing and after 2 months’ holiday with them, I left for London. 

While in Greece, I had helped another Kenyan lady who had come after me to get an au pair job through my employer. After 18 months in this job, she had found a way to travel to England and she had re-assured me that if I ever make my way to London, I should contact her and she would assist me in settling down. She had given me her contact number in London and told me to contact her once I was through with the immigration and she would fetch me. Well I do not know what had happened between her giving that re-assurance and the time I landed at the airport. I phoned the number and it was picked by somebody else who claimed not to know what I was talking about and hung up on me. 

Since I had never been to England before and it was getting late, I did not want to leave the airport at night and not knowing where I was going. So spent the night at the airport and in the meantime I had managed to phone the college of nursing to confirm that I was around and that I would be joining the students sitting for their aptitude test the following day, and had looked for a cheap hotel. I made my way to the hotel the following morning, dropped my luggage and headed for the college. I was 10 minutes late (not too bad for one asking for direction every step of the way) and was permitted to sit for the test. For a person to pass, one had to get 35 points and above. 

You can imagine how devastated I was when I got 33 points. I was told I could repeat the test in 3 months’ time and I did not mind waiting. Meanwhile, I started looking for any kind of a job because I was anxious not to spend all my savings and be stranded.  One day after Mass, I spent an hour having one on one conversation with the Lord and the summery of the conversation was that ‘Lord, I need a job’. I was directed by the Parish Priest to one of the Nazareth Houses in Isleworth and worked as a carer for nearly 5 years. 

I fell in love with the elderly and started imagining how it would feel like to dedicate my entire life caring for the elderly. It took me about three years to make up my mind and to this day, I have no regret. I am most grateful to God who invited me to answer His call and to serve Him by caring for those in need. I would like to encourage anyone who may feel that she has this calling to respond and believe you me, here is that inner joy that comes from serving the Lord in His poor and disadvantaged.

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