In our Pilgrimage book author Patrick McCaskey writes about Sister Rita Clare Yoches who is an exceptional athlete and who is now a nun. Sister’s story is a good one that should interest the sports and faith enthusiasts who are our book readers. [let’s get enthusiastic about our faith!] We mentioned the show Blessed to Play hosted by Ron Meyer Pilgrimage’s footnotes because that is where we originally heard about her. Now she has been interviewed on Catholic Sports Radio by Bruce Wawrzyniak in a new episode you can link to HERE. Each time I hear Sister speak I am encouraged.

Sister Yoches is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the T.O.R. of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother. Her order is a Roman Catholic religious congregation founded on August 15, 1988, in the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio. Her story begins on page 80 of Pilgrimage.

It is customary for those associated with Catholic media these days to talk about their conversion. For most, there comes a time when we have to move away from what was our past to seek the Lord on His terms. I know a priest who says there is  so much gloom and despair in the world. “The world projects its own bleak picture which misleads so many.

We escape always by prayer, by bringing it always to God that so many have forgotten.”

Unfortunately, on some level many of us do forget to keep a place for God that is front and center in our lives.

We have covered the conversion story of many people and the takeaway I come away with is the power of prayer. It is not that people are so purposefully evil, before their conversion, it more likely a matter of setting our priorities.

Many of us lose a constant and real relationship with God. Prayer helps bring it back. Our conversion comes from reestablishing our relationship with God that most of us had as kids. For Catholics this includes regular participation in the sacraments. As a parent, and a struggling one at that, I understand more and more the importance of our early relationship with Christ. I always remember as a kid just how close I felt to Jesus. As a Catholic I often looked to Mary to help me understand things as the  intercessor she is for us.

Many times I have written about the powerful role that Sisters played in our lives as students.  In my own case, I had tremendous Dominican Sisters in grammar school and Benedictine Sisters in College who will always hold a place in my heart. Sister Yoches is working with students at Florida State University now. She is on the staff of the FSU Catholic Student Union. Her role as a Sister is critical for our times.

I have a wife, four sisters, five daughters and a mother that looked after me for two-thirds of her 97 years. It’s  not hard time for me to understand the important place that women hold in our lives. As a Catholic,  I saw the hardest most masculine men fell down on their knees to say their Hail Mary’s. The best of those also had a special respect and love for all the women in their lives.

Mary helps lead us to Christ.