Grace and peace in Christ!

My name is Sr. Mary Joy, and I am a sister of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). I have been a professed member of the community since 2011.

I am currently teaching middle school religion in Phoenix, but I have also served in parish religious education and youth ministry. Before being assigned to Phoenix, I had the beautiful gift of spending three years in our mission in Belize, Central America.

I grew up in Oregon, the second of three children, and my family was faithful in practicing the Catholic faith (but not exceptionally devout). I attended the Franciscan University of Steubenville and it was there that I encountered many young people living their faith in a very vibrant way and I was exposed to the idea of a religious vocation for the first time (but I did not think it was for me!). I also became very attracted to missionary work and went on multiple mission trips.

The summer after my sophomore year, after looking for volunteer opportunities, I ended up on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota (served by SOLT) as a summer camp counselor. I experienced the Lord working in my heart in a new way, and I was profoundly impacted by the experience of living, serving, and praying in community. I loved the mission life there and the family spirit and Marian spirituality of SOLT. I returned to Franciscan, and although I loved being there, I was surprised to find how deeply I missed the mission life I had experienced in North Dakota.

That fall was when I first felt called to be a sister, and specifically, to join SOLT. I wrestled with my vocation, as I felt like I was giving up my freedom, but eventually, I was able to accept that this was the path to happiness and holiness that the Lord desired for me. After graduating, I did mission work at the North Dakota mission for a couple of years and then entered formation with the SOLT sisters. I found great peace in that first step, and while there have been challenges, as there are in all walks of life, I am so grateful for this life! It is a great gift to experience the Lord using me as a consecrated person to be a
sign of His presence to others.

My community is made of members of different vocations (priests and brothers, sisters, and laity) and we serve in areas of deep need, wherever the Church needs us.

I love reading Pope Benedict, drinking coffee, and watching sunsets, and I enjoy good conversations with friends, ethnic food, and seeing my students become more engaged in their faith.