Sr Colleen Bell: “God manages my future”Print
1) When did you know you had a vocation?
After primary school at a well-known Catholic college. I I was in no way interested in Church or Religious life – this was recognised by my parents who transferred me to St Vincent’s College, Potts Point for my secondary education. Here I met what I realised I was seeking – religious life.
2) How did your family react?
Shock at first but then they realised my decision was for real.
3) What was the process like then to join the Sisters of Charity?
Being a teenager, I clearly started what I was wanting. The process did not worry me. I knew and still know my goal.t was war time, so it took some organising.
4) How many joined with you, and how many are still in the Congregation?
We started with four; the eldest was 45, the youngest 16. It was 1944; I was 17. The 45-year-old left after two months; the 16-year-old left after 10 years. The 17-year-old died three of four years ago, and I am still here.
5) You were a teacher? What were you keen on pursuing?
A life of prayer, serving God through bringing families and children awareness of His great love for them.
6) What is the major difference you see now in religious life compared with when you first entered?
When I entered, religious life was strict; work first, then get prayer in. I was a secondary teacher, mostly in a boarding college. Today, I am a different person, I have a religious freedom. I live in the now. I will not go further on this – just say I have a peace which only God can and will give when one responds to Him.
7) What was your most challenging time?
Trying to live the life I wanted (in early years) but work was top priority. That is in the past. I live in the present. God manages my future.
8) Was there a time which was more than usually rewarding?
The gift of the now, and the realisation of God’s love.
9) When people discover you are a religious Sister, what is their reaction?
I am who I am. Id people have a problem with that, that’s their problem, not mine.
10) What do you see as the future for apostolic religious life in Australia?
I do see a future. Religious may be few in number, but I think the laity will realise they are Church – God’s people – and not totally dependent on Religious orders.