[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 is featuring each month members of religious communities who serve the Diocese of Phoenix.
Sr. Theresa Jodocy grew up in a large, French-speaking family. She helped welcome Bishop Edward A. McCarthy, the first bishop of Phoenix, in 1968 when she was principal of St. Thomas the Apostle School. She was also principal of St. Daniel the Prophet School in Scottsdale, dean at Xavier College Preparatory and then earned a master’s degree in theology. She spent several years leading RCIA and other efforts at St. Andrew the Apostle, Holy Spirit and Holy Cross parishes in the East Valley. Originally known as Sr. Matthias after her priest brother, she returned to her baptismal name of Theresa in 1988 and has served as a Benedictine Sister for 61 years.
The Catholic Sun: When did you first realize God was calling you to the consecrated life?
Sr. Theresa: As a child I always prayed to the Little Flower for a vocation but I had no contact with Sisters in my life because we grew up on a farm in the country … When I was about 12 years old, our parish priest gave a sermon on the twins, Benedict and Scholastica. I was a twin, but my twin died at 3 months. I tried reading anything I could about those twins. In our Catholic paper, periodically there would be articles on the College of St. Scholastica … By the grace of God I met this girl who was a transfer from St. Scholastica. She said, ‘If you really would like to meet those Sisters, go there one summer session.’ It was really the guidance of the Holy Spirit. No sooner did I get there that I met the Sisters and they almost immediately said, ‘You’ve got a vocation,’ without my ever opening my mouth about it.
Religious community: Benedictine Sisters of Duluth, Minnesota
Community charisms: Education — schools, college, hospitals, parishes — and all forms of service ministries, including the Benedictine Health System which reaches several states.
Community founding: 1892
Current role: Volunteer at the tribunal, Diocese of Duluth
When she first heard God’s call: As a child
Final vows: July 11, 1957
Why did you choose the Benedictine Sisters?
Sr. Theresa: I wanted a community that said the Divine Office. We were very close to a lot of priests. I had an uncle who was a priest. They always said the Office and I had been taking piano lessons from a Sister who was of another order. I asked her, ‘Does your order say the Divine Office? She said, ‘No, we don’t.’ And as a result, I just did not take to it. Through the priests that had contact with or visited our family and my uncle, I found out the Benedictines said the Divine Office daily.
What story about your vocation stands out?
Sr. Theresa: The number of converts I had in RCIA but also I did ministry of care when I first started with RCIA at St. Andrew’s. I had 35-38 converts for five years. But it wasn’t just RCIA, it was the whole gamut of adult education and ministry of care, teaching people how to be Eucharistic ministers, how to be lectors, how to educate the parents. I worked with people with annulments who had difficulties with their marriages. I just thrived on that work. In every parish I taught Scripture groups weekly.