I’ve always noticed that after I talk to a religious sister who has embraced her vocation that I walk away with a smile on my face. It doesn’t matter what we might have been talking about, there is just such a tangible joy radiating from the sister that I can’t help but smile.
After two years of contemplating a religious vocation, Virginia Cotter thought she was finally ready to visit some orders for a closer look. When she arrived at the Sisters of Life convent in New York last year, she was in for a shock.
“Most women, and certainly girls, would be shocked at the joy that they will experience with a visit,” Cotter said. “I was on cloud nine for a week after I first visited. I could not believe the genuine joy there; all of these sisters just, like, beam.”
Ms. Cotter decided that she was called to live that joyful life herself and has entered the Sisters of Life:
Even so, deciding to dedicate her life to God as a consecrated woman meant a major change in lifestyle for the 28-year-old. She will have to sell her house and other belongings, leave the company of her friends and family, learn a different way to work and dress, and a new way to pray.
“Not many lay persons pray for four or five hours a day, and that’s what the Sisters of Life do,” she said. “I’ll be going on an act of faith. But my parents raised me to do what God called me to do.”
Her parents, Mary and Tim Cotter of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, sent their daughter to Our Lady of the Rosary School for eight years. She graduated from Mauldin High and then from Franciscan University of Steubenville [no surprise there - Franciscan produces a great abundance of our nation's religious vocations], a Catholic school in Ohio that was recommended by her maternal grandparents, Elizabeth and Richard Wolcott.
Among her post-graduate experiences was a year in Los Angeles living in community with the Volunteers For Life and working in a maternity home for teens. She moved to Wyoming to work with troubled youth and then returned home to work at St. Joseph’s Catholic School.
She has been a college counselor at St. Joseph’s for three years, but Cotter will leave the post to enter the Sisters of Life convent on Sept. 5. Her application to the order was accepted on July 13.
The Sisters of Life are a wonderful order and we should all pray for their continued growth and all their new novices, including Ms. Cotter.