It’s Not About Me

July 11, 2018

By Sister Marissa Butler

Sister Marissa speaks with one of the classes at Blessed Sacrament

Sister Marissa speaks with one of the classes at Blessed Sacrament

I have never been one to like having my picture posted places. Yet, being in formation with the Sisters of Mercy has led to my photo being in newsletters, on Facebook and on posters that are accessible to large groups of people.

My home parish—Blessed Sacrament, in Waterloo, Iowa—has been incredibly supportive of me. When I found out there was a poster of me in the church, I was surprisingly at peace with it. I remembered that my story, in whatever way it is shared, is not about me. It is about God. It is about God using my story to speak to others.

I prayed with this for a while and asked God if there were other ways He wanted to use me. God was quick to respond, because not long after talking to Him I got the idea to visit all the classes at Blessed Sacrament School. Though I was comfortable sharing my story with adults, I had no clue how to talk to a fifth-grader or speak the language of a five-year-old! But I let go of my worries and decided that if my time at the school left an impression on even one child, then it would be well worth it.

The kids that I met were wonderful. They may be small, but the depth of their spirituality is admirable, and they have a lot to teach us. I read to each class the book Kitty’s Tea Party by Sister Regine Fanning, which is a short children’s book about Catherine McAuley. I explained that Kitty was the very first Sister of Mercy and that I want to be a Sister of Mercy so I can be just like Kitty. After the story, the kids had the opportunity to ask questions, which were both cute and thought-provoking.

A letter Sister Marissa received from a student at Blessed Sacrament.

A letter Sister Marissa received from a student at Blessed Sacrament.

I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but the fifth-graders were by far the best. They had my picture on the wall with a neon star around it and told me that I had reached “rockstar status” in their classroom! I told them not to ignore the idea of religious life if it enters their mind. I encouraged them to ask God what to do about the idea and to talk it through with others.

Though I had been hesitant about the experience, I would definitely do it again. I think kids need to be introduced to religious life by those who are actually living it. It led me to wonder how Sisters of Mercy can develop creative ways to be more visible in our schools. Please join me in praying for all these students to remain open to how God is calling them.

Just for fun, the kids’ questions included:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how holy are you?
  • Is there a boy version of this?
  • What is your favorite part about being a Sister of Mercy?
  • What is the hardest part about being a Sister of Mercy?
  • You can’t have a boyfriend or a baby?!
  • If you inherited $1 million, what would you spend it on?

Sister Marissa was received as a novice into the Sisters of Mercy on June 23, 2018

Comments (14)

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  1. Katherine Hill

    Dear Marisa,
    Thank you for publishing your thoughts!
    If it is okay with you I will re post this on my Facebook page?

    1. mercycomm Post author

      Sister Katherine, please feel free to share. I will pass along your thanks to Sister Marissa

  2. Ginger Andrews, RSM

    A great experience for both you and the kids!!
    Thank you!!

  3. Mike Poulin


  4. Sister Lucy (Burlingame)

    Dear Marissa- I loved the questions. Thanks.

  5. Fran Repka

    Thanks for sharing this precious experience with the young children, Marissa, and for reflecting with perspective.

  6. Terese Marie

    Thank you for doing this and sharing it. Keep right on doing it.

  7. Marisa Guerin

    Great column, Marissa, and the questions from the kids are laugh-out-loud perfect!

  8. Lori Marble

    Love this! Miss you my friend!

  9. Joyce Nixon


    Your presentation to elementary students must have been great that they said you reached the Rockstar level. Our Catholic elementary schools truly need to hear stories of how one decides to enter religious life.

  10. Maureen Falcon

    Marissa, thank you for your willingness to share your story.

  11. Virginia Giglio

    Sister Marissa, I am so proud of you and pleased to call you friend. Wonderful message to the children! I hope to see you in Ireland some day.

  12. Barb Giehl

    YOU definitely are a Rock Star!!
    Curious…. just what would you do with 1 mil dollars???

  13. Marilyn Lacey

    ‘Way to go, Rockstar Marissa! God moved hearts thru your presentation. Those students will remember you for a long time!