Sister Pam Nosbusch
I recently moved back to the Nashville, Tennessee, area. I previously lived in this area from 1985-1991. It was during this time God led me to become a Sylvania Franciscan. I’m guessing you are wondering how did I get from Nashville to Sylvania? The Sylvania Franciscans came and found me!
Let me back up a little. When I lived in Nashville the first time, I found myself telling my Spiritual Director that I didn’t see myself getting married and having children. Her comment was I could be a Sister. My initial reaction was, “Yeah. Right.”
However, this was a time when I was learning that God uses all kind of ways to get you where God wants you. My initial thought was to look into religious life so I could say I looked into it but it’s not for me. Well, we know the end of the story turned out much different!
I started looking at some Religious Communities and talking with some Sisters I had gotten to know. Along the way I heard the Sisters of Mercy were hosting a weekend retreat on all women’s vocations…married life, single life and religious life. I thought I’d go since it was here in Nashville. As it turns out, this weekend retreat was facilitated by two Sylvania Franciscans! The two Sisters are Laureen Painter and now former member Brenda Wilson. I remember mentioning to both Sister Laureen and Brenda I was looking into religious life. They offered to put me in contact with Sister Ann Carmen Barone who was serving as Vocation Director at that time.
Sister Ann Carmen and I corresponded by mail and phone calls. She came to see me in Nashville. Once I had enough vacation time and money saved up I made a trip to Sylvania. It took a while to realize after that first visit that returning to Nashville was not so much coming home as it was leaving what was to become my home. It was months between visits to Sylvania yet each visit felt like we picked up where we left off from the previous visit.
In the midst of my discernment, God put a wonderful man in my life named Steve. Steve was discerning a call to priesthood at the same time I was discerning a call to religious life. We shared our journeys with each other and ended up falling in love. In the end, the call to religious life was stronger than my feelings for Steve. In case you are wondering, Steve ended up getting married.
It took a few years for God to finally get through to me that I am being called to be a Sylvania Franciscan. Two dreams a few days apart finally got through to me. The first dream told me I needed to get off the fence about religious life. The second told me that Sylvania is where I am supposed to be. Before I could “chicken out” I called Sister Ann Carmen to tell her I wanted to start the formation process. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
On August 5, 1991, I moved up North to begin the journey of becoming a Sylvania Franciscan. Now, a little over 20 years later, I have returned to the same place where my call to religious life began. If God can get this Southern lady to move up North to follow God’s call who knows where God might lead you! You just might be surprised and end up somewhere you never dreamed of. I know this is how it is for me.