Sister Veronica Sokolosky, OSB
I heard the first whisper in the 4th grade. “Please listen to the 1st and 2nd graders reading lesson and help them with their sums.”
The whisper came from Mrs. Pazourek the only teacher In that little country schoolhouse that housed 28 students, grades 1-8, where she taught every discipline in every grade. That whisper began my call to a teaching career . Throughout my eight years in Emerald Valley School I was privileged to tutor so many students and to experience the talents of so many gifted teachers.
My highschool years came along filled with football and basketball games, class parties, homecoming parades, hayrides, and, of course, group sessions studying Latin, geometry and chemistry. A handsome senior from a neighboring school entered my life too. After graduation he signed up for a 3-year stint in the Air Force and I decided to head to college.
At this time I heard the whisper again. Fr Gerard Nathe, a Benedictine priest from St Gregory’s Abbey in Shawnee OK, was our substitute pastor for the summer. He was also teaching at Benedictine Heights College in Guthrie OK, a small Catholic women’s college. He suggested to my parents that BHC would be the best place for me to prepare for a teaching career, so I enrolled.
From my first day there I was enamoured by those Benedictine Sisters who were such dynamic teachers. I had never experienced such knowledgeable women in history, math, logic, British Literature, Latin and Gregorian Chant who could impart their knowledge day after day with such wisdom and humor.
And then a third whisper came. My handsome senior returned from Japan where he had served his 3 years in the Air Force and said to me one evening, “Well, we might as well get married.” And from somewhere came my reply, “I don’t know whether I want to marry you or enter the convent.” After a few strong words, he left and I never saw him again.
I began teaching with the Mercy sisters in OK City that fall at Sacred Heart School where I stayed 4 years. Every day I seemed to hear a whisper about the convent. I left Sacred Heart and went with Fr Gerard to St Patrick’s Mission in Anadarko OK, a boarding school for Indian children, grades 1-12. There I taught with the Benedictine monks and Franciscan Sisters. Every year the whisper grew louder and finally after 5 years of teaching, knowing I could no longer ignore that longing for God in my heart, I joined those dynamic Benedictine Sisters and for 62 years I’ve shared their wisdom and humor.
Sister Veronica Sokolosky osb