My Vocational Journey – Superior General Sister Mary Brenda McCall

My vocational journey started at my Baptism and in the bosom of my loving family in Glasgow, Scotland. There was no bolt of light, no Damascus experience, no Angel appearing to me when I was first introduced to the Sisters of Nazareth, rather it was an invitation from my best friend Pam to go with her to do volunteer work in Nazareth House, after school. On inquiring from Pam what she did, she replied with the same words Jesus uttered when calling His first disciples ‘Come and See.’ So, I went, I saw and I loved.


My life as a Sister has had many twists and turns, ups and downs, challenges and questions, joys and sorrows, but a life full of Faith in the God of surprises who to this day has never stopped surprising me. My continued support comes from my prayer life, my family, and my community. It was a source of great joy for me the day my younger sister told me that she also wished to give her life to God as a Sister of Nazareth. My sister twice over is now the Novice Director and at present, we have the blessing of ministering in the same House. I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving the Lord in the caring ministry both for children as a trained Child Care worker and the elderly as a Registered Nurse. I have ministered in our Houses in Africa, Ireland, and the UK Region.


During my years of ministry, I have cared for and met many wonderful and inspiring people. These are ordinary people who give of themselves every day; to carry out ordinary things in their ordinary lives, but who do it with such courage, faith, love, and conviction that they truly believe that what they do for others they do for the Lord.’

Whatever you do for the least of My brethren that you do unto Me.’ (Matthew 25:40)These are the heroes in my life who oftentimes give me the courage and strength to carry on. Among these people, I salute and honour especially the Sisters who supported, guided, inspired, and encouraged me in my vocational journey and who still do so to this day. I am certainly ‘Standing on the Shoulders of the Ones who have Gone Before Us’, as the song goes.


Looking back over fifty years in the Lord’s vineyard I can say in all honesty that one of my most fulfilling and humbling experiences was ministering and working in Khayelitsha, in Cape Town, Africa. I could relate to many stories of my short time working in Lizo Nobanda, which was a creche for children with HIV and Aids. We also opened a hospice and two small children’s homes in the same area. Working alongside the people of Khayelitsha opened my eyes to faith as I witnessed their deep spirituality, their total trust, and reliance on the Lord, and their genuine concern for their neighbors. Their sense of community and community spirit helped me enormously in relating to my own life and community life within Nazareth. I gained more from these good people in Khayelitsha than they did from my ministry among them. My time in Africa was truly blessed and I thank God for the opportunity I had of ministering to these very special people.


To any woman who is discerning her life as a Sister of Nazareth, I would most certainly say, ‘Come and See.’ The God of surprises is waiting to lead you to places and things that you would never dream of possible. I end this piece of writing with the words of our dear holy Foundress, Victoire Larmenier: ‘In the little ones see the Divine Child and in the old people Our Blessed Lady and St Joseph.’



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