Wake up the World: Q & A with Sr. Mary Beata Im

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Sr. Mary Beata Im grew up the youngest of six children in South Korea, where only 13 percent of the population is Catholic. She entered religious life in 1991 and today directs the religious education of more than 500 children. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)

[dropcap type=”4″]P[/dropcap]ope Francis declared that a Year of Consecrated Life be celebrated throughout the world, a time dedicated to the faithful whose vows of poverty, chastity and obedience serve to illuminate heaven on earth. To help mark this occasion, The Catholic Sun will feature each month members of religious communities who serve the Diocese of Phoenix.

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Religious community: Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate

Community charisms: Evangelization and religious education

Current role: Director of religious education at Christ the King Parish in Mesa

When she first heard God’s call: 5 years old

Final vows: Oct. 7, 2000

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Sr. Mary Beata Im is a sister of the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, based in Monroe, New York. She has been here since 2010, and is currently the director of religious education at Christ the King Parish in Mesa.

The Catholic Sun: When did you first realize that God was calling you to consecrated life?

Sr. Mary Beata Im: When I was 5. In Korea our Sunday life is all around the Church. You go to Mass but don’t go home right way. There are meetings and activities. Whoever asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my answer without even thinking was, “I want to be a nun.” I admired the sisters and I was very close to them.

TCS: What story about your vocation stands out?

Sr. Mary: When I made my first Communion I was 8 or 9 and my oldest sister was helping to give out the veils. I was the smallest and shortest at the end of the line. There was one veil left, kind of a poor, yellowish veil. I was sad in a way because the other girls’ veils were so pretty. But then I offered it up. I accepted it and I gave it to God in a joyful spirit. That’s the first time I did something for God that was special. As a child I remembered that Jesus sacrificed His life for us because He loves us.

TCS: What are your day-to-day activities?

Sr. Mary: I have spent 20 years in religious life and most of them were door-to-door evangelization. Now I teach children religious education. I am the director of religious education here at the parish with more than 500 children. The first year, I visited 100 families during the summer. I went to families who no longer came to church. Now my daily schedule is packed with three days of RE.

TCS: What has been most fulfilling or rewarding about your life as a sister?

Sr. Mary: It’s a realization of God’s love. I am what I am because of God’s grace and because God’s love is so abundant. He poured His grace up to the brim and now it’s overflowing. To me, it’s realizing that I cannot do this alone. Experiencing the joy in what I am doing — this is all His grace.