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Not until nuns can wear blue jeans

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Sister Carolita

My journey to the Sisters of the Holy Cross

by Sister M. Carolita (Hart), CSC

In 1952, before I ever thought about joining an order, I was working in a hospital as a student nurse. I was caring for Sister M. Carolita (Davy), CSC, on a day when her sister, Sister M. Carmen (Davy), CSC, was visiting. Gesturing toward me, Sister Carolita said, “I’m going to pray her into the convent.” Sister Carmen answered, “Well, that’ll be difficult. She’s engaged and not Catholic.”

Several of the other student nurses were Catholic, so I began attending Mass with them every morning, and then we’d go to breakfast together. I learned a lot about Catholicism that way. Later, when I was on affiliation in Louisville, Kentucky, I started going to inquiry classes. I grew up Protestant, so I was full of questions for the priest. He always had an answer that satisfied me. Just three months later, I was baptized Catholic.

My faith continued to grow

While working in Cairo, Illinois, my faith grew stronger as I became close to the sisters who were nurses at Saint Mary’s Hospital. I went to Mass every day and prayed a lot, and I played tennis with a priest there. He once asked me, “When are you going to get on your horse and go to the convent?” I answered, “I’m not going until the nuns can wear blue jeans.” But the thought was planted.

I began praying about it. Though I enjoyed my life, I felt incomplete. I felt that maybe there was more for me. And there certainly was—many wonderful years in Holy Cross.

Sister Carolita professed her initial vows with the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1955 and her perpetual vows in 1960. Among her ministries, she worked as a cardiac nurse and family nurse practitioner, opening a clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah. She also served as administrator of Mount Carmel East Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, and Holy Cross Hospital, Mission Hills, California, as regional superior for the Congregation’s Western Region, and as director of health affairs for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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