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Saying “yes” to the call: A Sister of the Holy Cross reflects

posted in: Saint Mary's, Vocation
Sister Linda Suurbeta Bonye from the internation novitiate
First-year novice Sister Linda Suurbeta Bonye enjoys a summer day at the International Novitiate on the Saint Mary’s campus.

By Sister Linda Suurbeta Bonye

My vocation story is enveloped in a song that states, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”* I was born into a traditional home in Ghana, where both of my parents were not Christians. When I turned 9 or 10 years old, I felt the strong urge to go to Mass. Though my parents were not Christians, I followed friends to their church.

At Mass, my childish mind thought I automatically qualified to receive Communion if I put money in the offering bowl. One Sunday, I made an offering and was joyful, knowing today was the day I would receive the Body of Christ. During Communion, I stood graciously with pride and followed the line. As I got closer to the priest, I saw the usher pull a little boy out of the line. My heart began beating fast. I was frightened, thinking I was next. To save me from this embarrassment, I quietly walked back to my seat.

When I asked my friend after Mass, she explained why I could not receive Communion. Later, I signed up for a catechism class and became baptized. All that I learned during catechism confirmed my desire to know God better. However, what motivated this desire was my intense admiration for the sisters who worked in my parish. I never gathered the courage to speak with them, but I knew deep down I wanted to be like them someday.

Holy Cross sisters were different

I always told my close friends in high school that I wanted to be a sister. It was so strong that some of them started referring to me as “sister,” maybe because of how I carried myself. After high school, however, my focus was on my future career and working hard to get funds for college. Providentially, I met the Sisters of the Holy Cross through my aunt, Sister Martina Dery, CSC.

My first encounter with the Holy Cross sisters was like a desire come to fruition because now I had the opportunity to interact with sisters. When I met them, I saw that the Holy Cross sisters were different from the sisters in my village. My query to understand the difference made Sister Martina give my number to the vocation director, Sister Evelyn Ntiamoah, CSC. The first time Sister Evelyn spoke to me on the phone, she was very nice. She mentioned that if I wanted to know more, I could visit or call anytime. Later, she invited me to see her, but I could only stay a night since I had an exam the following day.

After I completed a course on early childhood education at the National Nursery Teacher Training Center, I got a job offer at Our Lady of Holy Cross School in Kasoa, Ghana, sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. After three months as a teacher, I went for a come-and-see program with the sisters. Within the year, I stopped teaching to discern my vocation to religious life, and that was the beginning of my journey in Holy Cross.

Now I know that God had planned everything about me in my ordinariness. Isn’t it a miracle how far the innocent follower has come? Thus, my vocation is desiring to know, love and serve God better wherever I find myself. May God’s will be done as I continue to discern saying “yes” to this call.

* “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” attributed to Sundar Singh