And she knew why she was going: She was asked by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother leadership to help in administration and vocation ministry.
The only unclear part is the “what” she will be doing. According to Sr. Lucille, “I say the Lord caught up with me – at age 72. Nothing happens by accident. There is some need to be filled, some purpose to fulfill.”
Sr. Lucille said she welcomes the uncertainty of her new role as she feels it will give her time to get used to her new surroundings.
“I’ll be learning exactly what my job will be,” said Sr. Lucille. “I’m not sure and, in a way, that’s good. I’ll grow into it slowly. It’s important for me to know the culture.”
Her assignment is for three years, she said, admitting that may change.
Sr. Lucille is bringing 20 years of vocational experience to Santiago. Before her nine-year stint as associate director of the Department of Human and Spiritual Formation at Sacred Heart, she served in vocation ministry for her community and the archdiocese.
Sr. Lucille will use the wisdom she’s accumulated from her years of vocational ministry in her new role. The needs are great in the Dominican Republic and the SSM Foundation has done much to assist the people through education, health support and spiritual development.
“Our focus is on the poor, those who suffer injustice, those with no voice,” said Sr. Lucille.
Even though Spanish is Sr. Lucille’s first language “it’s New Mexico Spanish; it’s not Dominican Republic Spanish. It is different.”
When the SSM Foundation began in 1992 in the Dominican Republic, many of her colleagues felt it would be natural for her to join the sisters’ new mission there.
“I did not feel I was missionary material,” said Sr. Lucille.
She admitted she was a “spoiled American,” but is embracing this new challenge.
“I look forward to it,” she told your Catholic Herald, just days before her Nov. 17 departure. “I’ve been to the Dominican Republic a number of times to do vocation retreats, so I’m familiar with the area.”
Yet, she reflected on the life she’s leaving behind.
“I’ll miss the sisters, the community. I’ll miss jumping in the car and going to the mall, or to a different church for Mass. I’ll miss the familiarity of the city.”
She also said she’d miss hearing Mass in English, though “I’m glad I’m not going to be here for the changes (in the Mass, scheduled for next Advent).”
In Santiago, Sr. Lucille has joined three other Sorrowful Mother sisters – Sr. Arabia Jarmillo from Medellin, Colombia; Sr. Corita Ortiz from New Mexico, and Sr. Bernadette Palma from Brazil, who formerly taught in Milwaukee.
The sisters are living in a rented house across the street from their church and offices.
“I’m a doer, an active person,” said Sr. Lucille. “I know I’ll have to adjust to a slower pace. But that will give me time to learn.”