[Mary Naescher is invited to join the convent at Lacrosse, Wisconsin and starts her religious vocation. She would serve as a Franciscan nun until her death in 1937.]
We were allowed a week to get acquainted. Then we started school. Mother had cherished the hope of sending me to the Sisters in Le Mars. She had told me many nice things about the Sisters and now all was a reality. Sister Rosina was my only Sister teacher. We loved the Sisters and were anxious to do them favors. A blessing it was that we were intensely interested in our school work. In the mornings we always started for school early and would walk together, I in the middle and my two satellites on either side. That was our time for private communication. My kind-hearted brother’s [William] confidences sometimes surprised me. Boy-fashion he would merely mention what I knew meant much to him. Sister was considered somewhat of a baby and both of us were inclined to humor our “littlest” whom we often checked from being too outspoken, even at the cottage. We got along well enough but, not being used to the climate, malaria fever was hard on us even that first fall.
I continued school for two years. One morning in the spring of that first year Sister Rosina greeted me with: “Mary, I believe you would make a good Sister.” This broke the ice. It was not impulse that brought the reply, “Yes, I would like to be one.” Mother had stirred the germ when she had told me nice things about the Sisters. She had taught me to honor the Bless Mother to whom I loved to pray. In our home church we had the prettiest white altar and beautiful image of our Lady. At the foot of this altar I loved to kneel and pray ardently for something afar off.
The time came to break the ties. I felt sorry for grandma but she had gotten along without me. But there were brother and sister. We had confidentially paddled together; now they must struggle by themselves. Arrangements were made for me to go with the Sisters in vacation. The time of departure was almost at hand when I was offered an opportunity to go to Dakota for a visit home. It was too late. I had to fore-go what of all the pleasures would have been the greatest. I would not go without brother and sister and I could not go because I was ready to go with the Sisters. I did not even mention this to the Sisters nor to brother or sister. I was on my way to St. Rose Convent on July 18, 1898. I was received the following year, May 31, 1899 and took the name Sister M. Julitta. Brother and sister had come for the occasion. Neither had grown an inch nor changed a whit. Grandma I saw for the last time February (22nd) she was called to her reward.