What does it mean for a mother when her daughter enters religious life? How does a mother influence or respond to her daughter’s decision to take vows of poverty, obedience, chastity and service? With Mother’s Day on the way, we spoke with Sister Kelly Williams who reflected on the many ways she and her mother have shared a life of Mercy.
Sister Kelly Williams grew up in the midst of Mercy, quite literally. Sisters of Mercy lived on her street as a child, and after being home-schooled by her mother, Lori, she attended a Mercy high school, St. Vincent’s Academy in Savannah, Georgia. Lori, coincidentally, joined the faculty at St. Vincent’s the same year.
Sister Kelly remembers her childhood fondly and how her mother was always teaching and guiding her spiritually. After graduating from Belmont Abbey College, Kelly worked for three years as an admissions counselor at her alma mater, just minutes away from the administrative offices of the Sisters of Mercy South-Central Community.
Although never far from her mind, she still did not see herself making the leap into consecrated life. As her calling continued to grow, Kelly struggled with the idea of forgoing a family of her own, realizing that when “you say ‘yes’ to one, you have to know you’re saying ‘no’ to another.”
However, as Sister Kelly began consecrated life she started to realize how Mercy was drawing her closer to both God and her family.
Reflecting on this deep Mercy connection, Sister Kelly wrote this:
“Sharing with My Mother”
For as long as I can remember, I have shared so much with my mother.
My mother and father shared their Catholic faith with me.
My birthday is in May and sometimes my birthday falls on Mother’s day so we share that time of year.
My older brothers were always dressed to match each other. My mother made many dresses for just she and I to match.
I attended a Mercy high school and when I graduated she began teaching there. We share our love of St. Vincent’s Academy.
My parents are Benedictine Oblates and they shared their love of Benedictine Spirituality with me.
I joined a service sorority in college and unbeknownst to me, my mother joined as well. I was able to give her her pin at her entry.
God called me to life in Mercy, and invited my mother to share in the Charism as a Mercy Associate.
My parents raised us with the knowledge that God shared us with our parents and throughout my life I have been blessed to share so much with my mother.