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In honor of National Catholic Sisters Week, we’ve asked several Adorers to reflect on how Catholic sisters influenced their lives.

Sr. Bernadine WesselBy Sr. Bernadine Wessel, ASC

I’ve had a relationship with the Sisters Adorers from a young age. Two of my aunts were in the community and Sisters Adorers taught at my elementary school.

As youngsters in school, we collected pennies for the missions through a group called Holy Childhood. Through our penny donations, we were said to be “ransoming pagan babies,” or helping to bring unchurched, unbaptized children in foreign countries to God.

Holy Childhood magazine featured stories of missionaries around the world. I read and reread those stories and imagined myself doing good deeds to help the people in the mission countries.

Then the Adorers in Wichita opened a mission in Brazil. The first sisters there wrote very interesting letters about what they were doing. One of my aunts made a copy of each letter and sent it to my dad. Of course, I eagerly read those letters. My mind was then made up. I would become a Sister Adorer and go to the mission in Brazil.

I did enter the community but ended up not going to Brazil. By the time I entered religious life, Brazil had plenty of Adorers missionaries. But I did become a missionary in Korea in 1977 at a time when Adorers established a foundation of sisters in that country.

After 35 years serving in Korea, I returned to the United States in 2013.