Growing up in Connecticut and New York, Sister Lorraine would sometimes go with her dad – a Baptist preacher – to a street corner to evangelize. She wasn’t raised Catholic and becoming a nun wasn’t even among her options when she considered a career. Her mother worked at a bank, but Sister Lorraine went into nursing.
She would not tell me her age, but Sister Lorraine did tell me she was once engaged to be married and happy. A few years after she graduated however, she took a part-time job with the Little Sisters of the Poor to save enough money to buy a new car. One of the sisters asked her if she’d ever considered religious life. Sister Lorraine couldn’t get the idea out of her mind, so she broke off the engagement, converted to Catholicism and entered the convent. Her mother was initially very disappointed in her daughter’s decision to devote her life to God and the elderly.
For more than 30 years, Sister Lorraine has cared for the elderly and currently works at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Totowa, New Jersey.
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Many, many times over her years of service, she’s been with people in their last moments of life. I asked her what she’s learned during that time about people’s regrets in life.
“You know, I think any kind of hold back on a response of God’s love, are the things that they kind of regret, whether it be in a loving relationship in the family, where they didn’t trust enough, or whether it be in a relationship of going forward. . .but then sometimes you find the other extreme or the other beauty when people will say, ‘We are very poor, but somebody came to the door and needed money, and we gave them our last dollar because we knew God would give us what we needed,’” Sister Lorraine said.
Sister Lorraine took the microphone during the walk and told her story for all the young people who were walking and contemplating whether they want to enter the religious life.