Needed: Courageous Women to Share the Gospel


About the photos: Debbie Shibley during her ministry at St. Mary Hospital, Rogers, Ark., caring for a patient and playing Santa for her community members.

By Debbie Berg Shibley

Married for 26 years, Debbie lives in Iowa and has been a Springfield Dominican associate since 1998.

From age 6 my life has been impacted by religious sisters whom I encountered while attending Catholic schools and the Newman Center in college. As a result of their influence, I attended Come and See weekends* with two different communities while finishing up my nursing degree. In the end, I felt called to enter the Dominican Sisters of Springfield after graduation. For seven years—three years in formation and four as a professed sister—I embraced religious life. In the end, I would leave the community before my final vows. A few years later I would get married and become a lay associate of the Springfield Dominican Sisters.

At this point you might be wondering if I discerned correctly my call to enter religious life. I am here to tell you that yes, I not only believe but know I did discern correctly that calling to enter the Dominican Sisters after graduation.

Why didn’t I stay?

I don’t truly know the complete answer to that question, but my decision to leave was another discerning process that was extremely difficult. My calling to enter and to leave shows that an active relationship with God requires one to be open and discern His will, whenever and wherever that might lead us, even when it may not always make sense to us at the time. My relationship with the Dominican Sisters never ended but only changed, as I would become a lay associate, which shows the lifelong influence the sisters continue to have on my life and my faith.

"Come & See" For Yourself

Registration is open for Come & See weekends in February and March.

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There is a great need

As secularism takes a strong hold on today’s world, there is a great need for women willing to answer God’s call to religious life so that others can experience the same influence of God in their lives as I did. I recently listened to a friend describe a conversation she had with a young person who told her they did not know who Jesus was. Let us look no further than this example to see the important need for women to courageously answer God’s call to consecrated religious life—the Catholic sisterhood—sharing God’s word so everyone is able to know Jesus and His love.

How about you?

To lose this unique way of life is to lose a special way for God to impact and influence His people. If you are wondering where God is calling you, my prayer is that you will truly listen and truly discern to see if God is calling you toward life in community as a Catholic sister. May you courageously and openly respond to share the unique gifts God has blessed you with to further His kingdom here on earth.

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