“Country Girl at Heart!”
CMM Contact: Anne Rita Mauck, SCN
When my wonderful parents, Leslie and Beatrice Cissell Wilson married, they had 20 dollars–ten of which they gave to the priest who witnessed their marriage. When they lost their first child at birth, my father made the little wooden box in which she was buried and my aunt decorated the inside with satin. The loss was traumatic for my parents and my mother was never able to talk about it. It rained every day in May 1928. I was born June 1, 1928 and it continued to rain. The creek bridge between our house and the church had been washed out. In those days parents were advised that they should have their child baptized within two weeks of birth. When I was nine days old, my father swam the creek to get me baptized. My mother’s sister and husband met my dad on the other side of the creek. Neither of my parents had more than an elementary education and yet they gave us riches that words fail to describe. My parents are the two people who had the strongest impact on my life. I’ve never strayed far from the path on which they guided me.
There were six boys and four girls in our family and each merged very naturally into the “work force.” Each one realized very early how important and needed he/she was to the family. The girls helped our mother with the house chores, the chickens and the garden. The boys helped our father with the tobacco, corn and wheat crops as well as tending the dairy business. There was always plenty to do.
“You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl” Yes, I’m a country girl. I spent the first 19 years of my life on a farm in Carlisle County in western Kentucky, bordering the Mississippi River, and I never really wanted to leave it. Yet, I’ve spent my adult life in urban areas–Columbus, Ohio; Memphis, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky. God’s call has taken me on paths that I could never have imagined as a child.
Our Catholic faith was a large part of our life. With few exceptions, our home was decorated with religious items–the Crucifix, the pictures of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the Saints. We prayed when we got up in the morning and before getting into bed at night. Going to church on Sunday was as natural as getting up in the morning. On Saturday afternoons some member/s of the family went to Confession depending on whose group was designated as special that Sunday–the Holy Name Society (men), the Altar Society (women), or Children’s Sunday. The religious training we received at home was reinforced at St. Jerome, the parish school we attended.
Becoming a nun entered my mind very early for there were Religious on both sides of my family: on mother’s side, Little Sisters of the Poor, and on my father’s, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My parents often talked of these Sisters and communicated with them regularly. Attending the parish school taught by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth gave me the opportunity to get to know them fairly well and I was inspired by a number of them. I felt a great desire to give my life to working for and bringing God’s word to the poor. After graduation from high school I decided to respond to this call and entered the the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth September 24, 1947. I received the habit and name of Sister Isidore Maria in 1948.
As a Sister of Charity of Nazareth, I spent 42 years in education – 19 years as a teacher, seven years as principal and 16 years as Associate Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville. These experiences have greatly enriched my life. The last 12 years have been spent in healthcare with our Sisters at Nazareth Home. These beautiful people have touched my life and I consider it a a privilege to have been among them.
Growing roses has been a hobby of mine for many years. The pleasure they give me and many others who enjoy their beauty, from late April ’til Thanksgiving, is very rewarding. Now that I’m retired, I’ll be able to spend a little more time with them.