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Continued: St. Kate's gets $3.3 million Hilton grant to raise profile of Catholic sisters

Final question: “Do you have any advice for young women considering the life of a nun?”

“It’s not something you need to rush into,” said Larson. “There’s a process of getting to know the sisters [in your religious community]. Taking time is really key.”

When it was over, Garcia and Larson laughed and talked. For Garcia, the biggest surprise was that Larson had some romantic interest from guys before becoming a sister. She was also surprised how easy it was to talk to her.

“It never occurred to me that there could be a back story,” said Garcia. “Oh, there was a boyfriend? It surprised me how much we were able to relate. She’s fun. She’s quirky. She’s human!”

Meanwhile, Larson said she was surprised at Garcia’s interest in her story. She acknowledged she didn’t know much about nuns when she was Garcia’s age either.

“All I knew was Whoopi Goldberg in the movie ‘Sister Act’ and Maria in ‘The Sound of Music,’ ” she laughed.

Larson hopes the new sister project will introduce Americans to real-life nuns instead of those in the movies. Sisters, she said, aren’t likely to brag about their lives themselves.

“Sisters aren’t in it for the glory,” said Larson. “They just want to get things done.”

New role models

Students participating in the history projects said elevating sister stories is critical today.

“I think when young girls are given people like Miley Cyrus as role models, we get a false standard of what to exemplify,” said Laura Cre­peau, a sophomore at St. Kate’s.

“People think because they lead simple lives, they are simple people,” she added. “But they are making global change. They’re targeting environmental issues, human trafficking, domestic abuse, immigration. Look at the hospitals and universities run by sisters.”

Soher believes the initiative will touch a nerve with young women. Nassif thinks it may do the same with the sisters.

Sisters are not self-promoters, she said. The oral histories may become a way for them to learn more about themselves and their colleagues.

“I went into this thinking our audience was young people,” said Nassif. “But it’s also the sisters themselves.”

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511







  • related content

  • St. Catherine University senior Helen Garcia interviewed Sister Vicky Larson, an assistant professor of nursing at St. Kate’s. This was one of the first “oral histories” posted on the project’s website, SisterStory.org.

  • Sister Vicky Larson, an assistant professor of nursing at Saint Catherine University, was interview by Helen Garcia at student at the school March 14, 2014 in St. Paul, MN.

  • Of the interview with Sister Vicky Larson, St. Kate’s senior Helen Garcia said, “We were able to relate. She’s fun. She’s quirky. She’s human!”

  • Sister Vicky Larson assistant professor of nursing at Saint Catherine University was interview by Helen Garcia at student at the school March 14, 2014 in St. Paul, MN.

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