Franciscan novice realizing her dream of religious life

Sister Colette Marie Jaros

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

INDEPENDENCE — Sister Colette Marie Jaros is living the life she dreamed of since she was a little girl.

She was born into a large, devout Catholic family in Lincoln, Neb., 25 years ago. Her parents sent all eight of their children to Catholic grade and high schools, and when she was in third grade, she started feeling the call to the religious life. As her sisters and friends were talking about someday getting married and having children, she “felt like a freak and fought the urge.”

In high school, she realized that giving herself to God was a no holds barred commitment. That wasn’t a commitment she was ready for so she ignored the call for the most part.

Then she enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in history and felt lost. She went into the nearby church one day and asked, “OK, God, what do you want from me?” She heard a small voice in her heart reply, calling her. This time she paid attention.

She took a semester off to discern. While at home with her parents, she worked but avoided doing what she had taken the semester off to do. Then while at the computer one day, her father approached her and asked, “What are you doing?”

“I’m on the computer.”

“No, I mean what are you doing?! You came home to make up your mind about entering a religious order and you haven’t done anything.”

OK, she thought. Online she looked a several religious communities, and made appointments to visit three. The first was the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist in Independence, Mo.

She remembered her mother dropping her off at the monastery office before driving to visit family in the area. While looking around she spotted a group of young men playing football, and thought “What?” She later learned they were Rockhurst high school students on retreat.

Sister Mary Clare, the community’s vocation’s director met her and made her feel at home. “By the end of the day my heart was burning with love, for the peaceful grounds, the other sisters, and for Jesus. My brain was still saying no.”

She followed that visit with visits to the other two communities on her short list. She went to three discernment retreats, and realized more and more that she wanted to go back to the Franciscan community in Independence. “God was telling me the Franciscan community was it and He knows!”

After asking if she could come back and was welcomed, she made up her mind. First, she finished college, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History, then entered the community on Feb. 28, 2016.

Her first months were as a postulant, a period of continued discernment that usually lasts six months to a year. “It was four months before I felt comfortable,” she recalled. On Oct. 1, 2016 she entered the novitiate where she will learn, discern and prepare to make her permanent profession of vows. She expects to profess her first vows later this year.

She chose the name Sister Colette Marie, and later realized she wasn’t sure how to spell it. A French sister clarified the spelling for her.
She described her life as a kind of return to childhood, living in a big family. “We’re sisters, we love each other. We play games, eat meals together, take part in activities and we pray together. We live our lives trusting in God the Father.”

She said life in the community is very scheduled, “which helps me with my prayer life. I know when Holy Hours are, when Mass is celebrated and I know I must be there.”

Currently the only sister in formation in the community, Sister Colette Marie is working on her Master of Arts in Theology through a Steubenville University online course. She would love to teach high school, would love to help the community grow.

“I have a lot of questions about the future,” she said, “but as long as I’m following Jesus here, I really don’t care what the future holds. I am here to love God and be loved by him in return.”

 

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Tuesday
December 11, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph