Sr. Stephanie Kapusta OP
I was born in Benld, Illinois, and am the youngest of four children born to Peter and Magdalene Kapusta. My oldest sister, Florence, now Sister M. Bernardine, entered the Springfield Dominicans shortly after I graduated from the eighth grade. I attended the public schools as we had no Catholic schools in Benld. My religious instruction was obtained from the pastor who conducted classes after school once a week. There were no religious instruction classes for high school students at that time.
In the summer, the Dominican Sisters would travel from Springfield to Benld via the interurban train to teach catechism for a month in preparation for receiving the sacraments. We always looked forward to the coming of the Sisters as they kept us involved in art projects in addition to our religious instruction. Also, their classes were fun and interesting. My parents also played a large role in my religious upbringing by word and example.
When I was in the sixth grade, I was very ill with a pounding and racing heart. All at once my heart seemed to stop, and I found myself gasping for breath. I thought I was going to die. I didn’t tell my parents as I didn’t want to worry them. Instead I promised Jesus that if I lived I would become a Sister. Shortly after this, my condition returned to normal. I didn’t think very often about my promise but kept it in the back of my mind.
After my graduation from high school, I worked in a secretarial capacity at St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing for about two years. One day, while I was alone on the ninth floor of the hospital running off tests for the nurses, I heard a loud, clear voice saying, “Remember your promise.” I recall being startled and frightened. It was shortly after this that I made my decision to enter the convent. As soon as I did, I was enveloped in a deep peace and really felt myself surrounded with God’s presence. Since I had a sister who was a Springfield Dominican, I decided that would be the congregation for me. I have never regretted my decision, and I thank God for the opportunity I have had for so many years to serve God and God’s children.