You Oughta Be in History, You’re a Unique Story
National Women’s History Month
by Sisters and Associates of the Sisters of the Holy Family

by M. Stephen Smario, SHF

I have been with the Sisters of the Holy Family since I was five years old.  I tagged along with my brother and cousins to catechism class every week.  One day a Christmas Party was planned and my mother said that I couldn’t go because all the children would be getting presents and that I would cry if I didn’t get one.  I promised that I would not cry and that I would be good so mom gave in to me and let me go.  I remember Sister M. Siena Arata came to me and gave me my first Raggedy Ann doll.  I was so happy and I never forgot Sister Siena.  Sister M. Edward Schwab and Sister M. Siena were the first Sisters that I met at Epiphany Parish in San Francisco.  I would never have met these wonderful Sisters had they not done home visiting.

As I grew older, I prepared to receive my First Holy Communion and heard the Sisters tell stories of Jesus and how much he loved me and how much he suffered for me and for all people.  This so impressed me that I wanted to thank Him.  It was on the occasion of my First Communion Day, when I was asked what I would like to do when I grew up, my response was that I would be a Sister.  Mom held this carefully in her heart.

Six months after my First Communion we moved to St. Michael Parish where I met many Sisters including Sister M. Lucilla Brett and Sister M. Lucy Kelly, who have touched me deeply.  As a teenager, I spent much of my time with the Sisters helping them with the children and at vacation school.  I used to see the Sisters in the neighborhood ringing doorbells and talking to parents and children.  I would get excited when they came to my home and my family felt honored.  I admired their gentleness, patience, tenderness and loving caring spirit.

As the years went by I became not only close to the Sisters but I had built a relationship with God.  My early desire to give myself to God in thanksgiving for His great love grew until I took the step at age 20 and entered the Community of the Sisters of the Holy Family.