UP Catholic 01 20 2017 E Edition Page 2

2 January 20, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC www.upcatholic.org Sister Estela Garcia named SPC district superior BY JOHN FEE THE U.P. CATHOLIC She started her journey to being a religious sister in 1969 by jumping out a window in the Philippines. Now shes moving from Bethesda, Md. to the motherhouse in Marquette having been chosen by her order to be district superior of the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres in the U.S. A native of Naguilian, La Union in northern Philippines, Sister Estela Fortu- nata Garcia was told by a priest who was instructing her for reception of First Holy Commu- nion, You know you are lucky because you are learning about God, about Jesus. But, there are those in remote places, they dont know about God because no one goes there to help them. The youngster said to herself, When I grow up I would like to go to that place to help those children. Her Catholic family went to church every Sunday and the future nun was a member of organizations such as Children of Mary, Legion of Mary, and Sodality of Our Lady. As a college student she visited the poor with others. After graduation, she taught school for a year. Even though her career in education was off to a start, Sister Estela said she couldnt contain herself due to thinking I need to go to serve the Lord. However, her family objected. When I went to ask permission, my dad said, Over my dead body, and he closed the door, Sister Estela said. But her bedroom window was close to the ground. I jumped out the window, saw a bus and stopped it and I went. The following week the 21-year old prospective nun was to ride a bus to a convent to begin reli- gious life. The mother superior called her parents and said, If you want to see Miss Garcia one last time, we are going to gas up at this station. Through the bus window she saw her parents at the gas station, crying, and the mother supe- rior told her about the call. She went to them to say goodbye. Even though they didnt want her to go, Sister Estela said she knows in their hearts they were saying, If thats what you want. She made her final vows in 1977. When Sister Estela was to be sent to the United States as a missionary, her father was sick with cancer. She didnt want to leave him but he surprised her by saying, What happened to your commitment? Why are you saying no now? You go. Our home is not here. I'll go first. Our home is there. Our life is temporary here. Sister Estela said, I cried because he had more faith than me. Sister Estella has been in the U.S. since 1986, ministering in Michigan for seven years six of those teaching first and second grades in Menominee and 23 in the Washington, D.C. area teaching. She earned a master of arts in education from Northern Michigan University in 1993. Now she begins a three-year term succeed- ing Sister Gloria Schultz, a native of Bessemer, who has been district superior for nine years. Sister Estela said she was apprehensive after receiving a call from Rome informing her of her new duties. However, she said it gives her confi- dence knowing Sister Gloria and the other sisters will help her. In fact, Sister Gloria is currently acting district superior until Sister Estela re- ceives some training and can move to Marquette in a few months. The nitty gritty of the district superiors du- ties, according to Sister Gloria is, making sure everything within the district operates well, from all the houses, the problems of the sisters, the challenges, all those things that come up includ- ing finances. Among the locations under the sisters care is the motherhouse in Marquette, the Bishop Noa Home and the new memory care facility in Escanaba and operations in the Wash- ington, D.C. area. However, the main responsi- bility is to, Spiritually animate, and keep the life of the sisters going. We are so grateful for Sister Gloria, because our district is flourishing because of her. I would like to continue the legacy that Sister Gloria has started, said Sister Estela. To learn more about the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, visit www.sistersofstpaulusa.org or call (906) 226-3932. COURTESY OF SISTERS OF ST. PAUL DE CHARTRES Sister Estela Garcia, SPC teaches children at St. Jane de Chantal school in Bethesda, Md. She was recently selected to be the new district superior for her order in the U.S. Sister Estela Garcia, SPC

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