The Fidelian Foundation partners with the Mary Help of Christians Academy of North Haledon in their “Support a Nun Program”.
Our annual donation provides daily living expenses for Sr. Marisa DeRose, whom we have pledged to support.
Fidelians adoption certificate.
I was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and lived there until I was thirteen. At that time I moved one town over to Roselle Park. My parents and four older brothers were the significant influences on my life. The family belonged to St. Anthony’s parish in Elizabeth. All of us children had frequented the parish school. I share a very special relationship with my family. We were always close and supportive of one another in whatever we did. My parents were of significant influence on all of us. They taught us to support and encourage one another and to respect each one’s talents and abilities. Because I am the youngest and the only girl, my brothers always protected me, and though I tell them that I am no longer young, I do appreciate their interest, care, and special attention.
I treasure my relationship with my mother and father in a special way. We are friends who love and appreciate each other. The first time that I told my parents that I was thinking of becoming a Sister, they were not overjoyed at the idea. However, in all my struggle to discern, decide, and determine the path that God had for me, they have supported and helped me in all ways possible.
The other influence in my life was the Salesian Sisters who taught at St. Anthony’s School in Elizabeth. I spent a lot of time with them, and they invited me to pray with them and to take part in special events in Newton and Haledon. I gradually began to see much of the religious life that I liked. Although I no longer lived in Elizabeth, I still visited with the Sisters several times a week. I also taught CCD, and by May, 1978, the end of my freshmen year in high school, I was just about positive that I wanted to be a Sister. I had a special invitation to participate in the “Mornese Experience” held in Newton at the end of that June.
I loved every minute of the experience and was ready to become a Sister by the time it was halfway over. But God always has better plans. One of the Sisters I had been particularly close to had left the convent to return to her family that summer and I was left disappointed and confused. My plans that had seemed so definite suddenly became uncertain. I was sure of nothing, and felt lost and angry. I lost touch with the Sisters, and the thought of a vocation receded to a bad memory. I look back at it now and realize that God’s infinite wisdom was at work in my life, and I am grateful. He knew that I was not ready to make this commitment at that time. As I grew and prayed, I was able to make an objective and personal choice regarding my vocation. The experience has helped me learn to trust God who knows all things and their purpose.
The pain and disillusionment I had experienced had almost completely healed by the time of my high school graduation, and I once again became interested in what the Sisters were doing and in their lifestyle. I came back to help the Sisters at St. Anthony’s and helped them in the preparation for the confirmation classes. I asked God to give me a sign that would spell out my future. He did. I ignored it! Then I promised the Lord that I would keep quiet long enough to hear Him in my own heart. The saga of my journey was long and difficult, but the peace I experienced when I finally made up my mind was worth the time.
Finally, I began my journey in formation. I enjoyed the special classes and the prayer experiences. As I learned more about myself, I felt that I had truly made the right choice. On August 5, 1988, I made my first vows as a Salesian Sister in Newton, New Jersey. Since then, I have had the opportunity of living and working with wonderful people in New Jersey, Rome, Italy, and Tampa, Florida. These last fourteen years that have been filled with great joys and numerous challenges, but our Lord has been there with His love and with His guidance, reminding me, over and over again, that “all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).