My name is Sister Judith Kathleen Knowlton and I am a sister in temporary profession. I am the youngest of five children. Originally from South Philadelphia, I grew up in Manoa, PA, where I was taught by our Sisters at Sacred Heart School.
I did not always want to be a Sister. As I was growing up I do not even remember it being presented as an option. I assumed that I would have a career, get married and raise a family. It was not until I was in my twenties that religious life was presented to me. A Sister once told me "You are going to be one of us someday. You just don't know it yet." I dismissed the idea. I worked at different jobs and became a master of nothing. There was something missing. I often thought of what that Sister said and finally decided to do something about it. In 1995 I started pre-entrance and was supposed to enter the community in 1996; but it was not to be. I decided to put it off. I was not ready to make a commitment yet.
After several years the longing in my heart only got stronger. I got in touch with Sister Kathleen Ann. With her help and friendship, I was able to come back and enter the IHM community in September of 2000. It was the best decision I ever made.
I have just reached the half-way point of initial formation. Many things have happened since Entrance Day. I have experienced a wide range of emotions. I have discovered hidden talents, met great sisters, suffered the loss of my friend and said good-bye to my band. In December I found myself singing in our chapel at Mass. Since that first day I have begun taking voice lessons and I continue to lend my voice, when I can. It is amazing what God can do, is it not?
Throughout my young religious life I have been blessed with much support from my Sisters, my friends, my directresses and especially, my family. My parents, Art and Rosemarie, along with the rest of my family (and there are many of us) are faithful each month. Each visiting day we prepare for the invasion. I cannot thank my family enough for all of their support.
Recently I had the privilege of speaking on vocations at Archbishop Carroll High School. What made this day special was that my brother Richard teaches there and I was able to spend the day with him in his classes. I think it was like Show and Tell for him. He made sure to introduce his "sister the Sister" to everyone.
Each morning when I wake and each night before I go to bed, I thank God for this awesome gift of vocation. What a privilege it is for me to wear the habit! When I get dressed I cannot help but remember all the Sisters who have gone before me. What a gift God has given me! As I sit here writing, I see on my desk the words of St. Paul "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." These words have come alive for me. I am doing things that I would never imagine myself able to do. But in my life I can see that when I am weak, He is strong. Please remember me in your prayers. Know that you are in mine!
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