Meet Sister Joyce Feterl

I grew up on small farm near Salem, SD where families were close and most everyone I knew was Catholic. We all went to St. Mary’s Catholic schools and we were basically with the same classmates for all 12 years. The Benedictine sisters from Yankton started teaching in Salem in 1959 when I was in second grade. The wonderful Sister Amica Dolan was my music teacher. I was always touched by her gentle, cheerful way. It was then that the vocation spark was lit.

Vatican II happened when I was only ten. Pope John XXIII was my hero and still is. The change from Latin to English in the Liturgy and facing the people turned all the lights on for me. I could understand the words and could see all the actions of the Mass. In high school, religion classes taught ecumenism and the importance of respecting beliefs which may be different from our own. We were taught, as the song goes, “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together.”

After high school, I attended Mount Marty College and continued my association with the Sisters. God was consistently “in my face” and so I gave into God and entered Sacred Heart Monastery in the fall of 1973.

My vocation these past forty four years continues to be nourished by the lives of our sisters, our communal life and prayer. S. Aquinata Bockmann, OSB, teaches the way we make it in community is to “pull each other along down the potato row”. No statement could be truer.

One of my favorite quotes from the Rule is from the Prologue: “For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love.” And so my vocation story continues on.



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