Nun and Baby Share Vocations Advice at College Campus

“Being a sister, being a mother … those vocations are more alike than they are different.”

That’s what Sister M. Karolyn Nunes explained. She’s making a vocation stop at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and was holding a baby for a Raven parent for only a short while. Sister M. Karolyn is the U.S. vocations director of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.

The “Discernment Help: 5 cents” sign is based on a running gag in the Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown’s nemesis Lucy Van Pelt sits at her version of a lemonade stand, offering more sophisticated services — psychiatric help.

“It’s a great conversation starter. I’m not sure how many college students know the Peanuts reference but everyone appreciates the idea of it.”

But was she sending mixed messages by holding a baby in a “Vocations Advice” booth?

Sister laughed at the question “No! Not at all,” she said.  “Most girls say ‘I want to be a mom.’ I say ‘Of course you do! That means you’re human. That’s your vocation as a woman.’ But then I tell them that being a sister and being a mother have a lot in common. Those vocations are more alike than they are different.”

She said the stand was her idea. She has used the method at SEEK, the conference of the college-student centered Focus apostolate.“A priest friend of mine liked the idea so much that he did one himself at a conference,” she said. “But his was not nearly as nice as mine, since he’s a guy.”

How much money did she make at Benedictine College?

“I made only 25 cents, but I also gave out a lot of free advice.”  she said. She spoke with half a dozen students after every class change period.

Her religious congregation has helped many Benedictine College Ravens discern vocations. Their home a half-block from campus features a picture of 20 sisters who are graduates of the college, including their U.S. superior, Mother M. Mediatrix Bexten, a graduate and longtime friend of the college.

Four members of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George are stationed at Benedictine — two are students, one teaches Chemistry at the college, and one leads their group while volunteering as a teacher at St. Benedict Catholic Elementary School a block away.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George have a long history with Benedictine. The sisters recorded two videos at their Benedictine College house that went viral last school year. In 2012, seven sisters sang the Raven Fight Song after taking final vows, to celebrate their alma mater.

Sister M. Karolyn is taking her “lemonade stand” on a Midwest vocations tour that took her from the congregation’s U.S. motherhouse in Alton, Illinois, to a youth group in Kansas City, Mo., then to Benedictine and on to Hastings, Neb., Kearney, Neb., and then four stops in Colorado.

“I have no agenda except to meet people,” she said. “God is doing the most important work in these young people’s lives.”

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.