A golden jubilee celebration is set for Sept. 12 at St. Mary Catholic Church for Sister Sharon Steglich. The celebration includes Mass at 5:30 p.m. and a reception in the parish hall to mark her 50 years as a Dominican sister.

When Sister Sharon, 68, entered the Dominican Order of Religious Sisters in 1959 in Houston, she had just convinced her father, who was not a Catholic, it was what she wanted to do with her life. Her Catholic mother did not understand “why” either, but Sister Sharon’s parents came to be convinced that this was what would make her happy. She felt God calling her.

A graduate of Bishop Byrne High and with a teaching degree from Sacred Heart in Houston, Sister Sharon set out on an amazing journey that led to changing the lives of children for the last 27 years at St. Mary’s. She serves as first grade teacher and primary grade coordinator, and arranges memorable field trips for her students to such exotic places as the Shangri-La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. She teaches the children that, “We are all God’s caretakers.”

Growing up, she had been influenced by all the Nuns in her school and church in Port Arthur and drawn by their joy and friendliness. The Dominican Order was founded by Saint Dominic and she says, “Saint Dominic was a joyful Friar, and many of the sisters like to say Dominicanism isn’t taught, it’s caught. It’s all about joy with the Lord.”

There have been many changes in her 50 years in the Dominicans. One very noticeable change is in what is worn. She notes, “We’re changing our habit, but not our mission.” Sisters dress more like the people they serve now.

There are fewer Nuns at present but as things changed over the years, they are perceived as more friendly and closer to those they serve. Gone are the days when sisters would look so serious and seem aloof.

As Sister Sharon prepares to celebrate her 50 years in a life she has enjoyed with the children she has treasured, she says that she recently had a little boy in her class whose mother was in her first class at Saint Mary School. She says, “It’s like teaching my grandchildren.”

She is proud that the boy’s parents were pleased enough with the education they had received many years ago to send their children to St. Mary School.

Sister Sharon’s motto in life has been, “In God’s Will Is My Peace.” She tells the story that once a woman told her, “You must be a Nun,” and she asked the woman, “How did you know?”
The reply was, “I could see the peace within you.”