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Sister Maria Irma Gonzalez
How does someone who never went to a Catholic School and never knew many Sisters become a Sister? That's my story!
I was born and reared in Brownsville, Texas, the older of two children whose dad died when we were very young (4 and 2). My mother and my grandmother, the two most influential people in my life, were women of great faith, totally involved in the life of our parish. So were my brother and I. But for the most part, I did not know many Sisters.
One day during my senior year in high school - out of the clear blue - the thought occurred to me that perhaps I should enter the convent and become a Sister. WELL!!! I bargained quickly with God for a sign that this was not a real call, reasoning that this could not be real since I did not know too many Sisters. I thought I got my sign.
During the next two years, becoming a Sister was a thought that would not leave. Each time I had to face it, I said, "This can't be. I’ll visit, but send me a sign." And each time I got a sign. When I met the Sisters of the Incarnate Word I did not get the usual sign; instead I felt at home! There isn't much that can be done with "feeling at home" except to find out how one can "stay at home." So that year I sought advice from our priest, filled in applications, got my physical, was accepted, told my folks - in that order.
Leaving home was difficult for a while. In addition to having to get used to a new life, a new environment, there was also the fact that my grandmother did not approve. All these things (including acceptance from my grandmother) came in time. If I had it to do all over again, I would do the same thing.
I have been a Sister since 1967 and it has been great! This is the best way that I can serve God. Over the years I have shared my life with a great group of women dedicated to the "extension of the Incarnate Word” – making Jesus, the Incarnate Word, present wherever we are; I have taught in schools in Brownsville and Corpus Christi; I have belonged to a number of religious and civic groups. In 2008 I completed eight years of service as Superior General for the Congregation. God only knows what's in store for me next. I look forward to it!