SR. BEVERLY HEDGECOTH, CGS
[Sr. Beverly Hegdecoth celebrated her Final Vows April 24, 2020, in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd have been known through the years as the Magdalene Sisters and the Sisters of the Cross.]
As a young lady I wanted to join the Sister Magdalene Community but instead ran off to San Diego where I met and married a wonderful man. Three beautiful children later I became a widow.
Again I thought of becoming a religious but knew that I had quite a few years ahead before that was possible, as my youngest child was only two and the oldest seven. I put all thoughts of a religious life out of my head and went on to live a full worldly life. I was in the process of preparing for retirement. I had promised myself that when I reached 55 I would retire from my job, take my motor home and travel around the U.S. and Canada.
I owned my own home in the beautiful city of San Diego and was sitting pretty as far as the world could see. Then, out of the blue, a visiting retired priest gave a sermon. One of the things that he said was, "It is never too late.� That statement made me think again of the Sister Magdalenes. I prayer about it for several weeks but could not get the idea out of my head.
I finally called St. Paul, Minnesota, on a Saturday, and asked to speak with whomever was in charge of the Novitiate of Sister Magdalenes. I was given the telephone number of the Contemplative Sisters and, as I learned later, no one even answers the switchboard on weekends, but that day they did!
I was invited to come to St. Paul and make a Discipleship Retreat, which I did, and immediately felt right at home. I returned to St. Paul for other visits. Finally when I said �yes� I felt a great load lifted from me. I told my children, who by this time were living on their own, and received their blessing. I emptied my house, gave my daughter power of attorney and the motor home, and entered the Contemplatives of the Good Shepherd at the age of 54, one year before my promised retirement�and have never regretted my decision. As a matter of fact, once my decision was made I felt nothing but peace.
SR. MARY HART
[Sr. Mary Hart is an apostolic (active) Good Shepherd Sister in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and has been serving in St. Francis/St. Philip Parish for 19 years. This is excerpt from an article about Sr. Mary.]
Sr. Mary recalls, �I remember my father telling me when I was a young girl, �Mary because your name is Hart, many doors will be opened to you. It�s your responsibility to help open doors for others who do not have the same responsibilities that you have had��I never forgot that, and I have taken it to heart throughout my religious life and now especially in my work at the parish��.
Roxbury is an economically poor, urban neighborhood in Boston, but gifted with a wealth of �soul�. It is a community where Jesus, the Good Shepherd would want to be present and is in fact present in the lives of the people. Mary reflects, �In the city you have to be very contemplative to know the plan of God. You come to know the plan of God from listening to the voices of the people.
�In the beginning, much of my work in the parish was developing the after work and summer camp program for the children in the parish and the neighborhood community�.�
Today�Sr. Mary�s focus has turned to working with older children, young adults and staff in developing their leadership abilities and involvement with in the parish�. Sr. Mary says comments, �I feel that I have been helped so much in my own life and vocation. It came to me that my ministry is to be of any help that I can to the staff, teenagers, and young adults in discovering and responding to their own call. I truly believe in people, and that God calls each of us to live life to the full. One of the ways that we do this is by following our dreams, our deepest desires, and by developing our gifts. And we all have gifts!��
[For the full version of this article contact Sr. Debbie Drago at [email protected].]
TRACY, GOOD SHEPHERD STAFF
[Tracy McQuen is receptionist/secretary at Home of the Good Shepherd, convent and agency in St. Paul, Minnnesota.]
Working at the home of the Good Shepherd
has been like a special gift to me from God.
From the day I walked in for my interview,
I knew I wanted to work here. Besides the
great reception from the Sisters and co-workers, the camaraderie between everyone is so genuine. They definitely make you feel that everyone is special in their own way.
SR. BARBARA BEASLEY TELLS OF BEING DRAWN TO GOOD SHEPHERD:
A �VULNERABLE AND BROKEN HEART�
A �vulnerable and broken heart� is a value I am growing into. The idea of a heart that can be touched and softened � a heart that can become a doorway to life, as, out of the Heart of Jesus, broken, comes the blood and water, birthing the Church, gushing forth the Spirit, giving us birth.
Out of my mother�s unconscious instincts came her desire that we not be arrogant or hard-hearted � that we become people able to �break and bend�.
My first introduction to Good Shepherd Call was when my sister brought home from a �vocation talk� a lot of promotional literature distributed by Sr. Epiphany (Eileen DeLong). One of the items was a cut-out picture of a Good Shepherd Sister. The narrative touched me to my core. It said everything I believed in my heart about dealing with people, about my desire to help people, with what quality, with what motivation.
The mission of Good Shepherd is something I�ve grown up in, having entered at age 19, and I am still growing into�.
(Sr. Barbara currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a member of the sisters' leadership team and new director of the community's ministry, Home of the Good Shepherd, which serves women in transition.)
WHO IS SERVED BY GOOD SHEPHERD SISTERS AND THEIR STAFF?
WOMEN AT DROSTE RESIDENCE IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
DROSTE RESIDENCE serves women in the process of reclaiming their lives.
Sr. Jane writes: "One of the residents asked me recently, 'Why do people label me and expect me to fail again?' Because we do think of categories and groups rather than individuals. At Maria Droste Residence we try to welcome and accept each woman as she is and to help her to move beyond that point."
One of the residents, "B.", shares her experience:
"Being her at Droste Residence has been a great help for me. When I felt all hope was gone and needed my morale uplifted, it was the program for me. I had been battered and needed to get back my self-esteem. The Sisters helped me to get a job and get on with my life. And it filled me with joy to learn how to become closer to God. The program is set up here to help you help yourself after you've been in trouble. There is always someone to tlak to and understand you when you have problems. It worked for me; I hope it can work as well for other women too."
(Blessed Maria Droste was a Good Shepherd Sister serving in Portugal at end of the last century.)