Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever, Amen!
My name is Sr. Philomena Anna Rogers, S.Praem., and I am from the Congregation of Norbertine Sisters. My baptismal name, Anna, means “Loved graciously.” That is the best description of my life I could ever imagine, for God’s merciful love has been cascading over me like a waterfall since I was born.
I grew up in Tehachapi, CA, with my four younger siblings. We enjoyed being homeschooled together and I loved being with friends, singing in choir, family hikes and swimming! When I was seven years old I first felt that the Lord was calling me, and I would dream about being a missionary in Africa or China and telling people about Jesus. Despite being a mischievous child, my faith-filled parents helped me develop a taste for prayer and service. Dad used to say, “We all have a God-shaped hole inside which only He can fill.”
As a teenager I began to feel that “hole” within, aching to know God. I was searching for the purpose of my life and to know that I was loved. I found what I sought in Eucharistic Adoration. One day, kneeling alone before the Blessed Sacrament, I truly met the Lord in a profound awareness of His Presence. I knew so deeply that He loved me and gave up His life for me. All He asked for in return was my love. He seemed to say, “Will you belong to me? Will you be mine?” With all my heart I said, “Yes!”
Having grown up with the Norbertines I felt very at home with the order, and I was deeply drawn to the Eucharistic spirituality. The only problem was that I did not feel called to the cloistered vocation, and I had no clue that there were contemplative-active Norbertine sisters. One day when I was praying before Mass at St. Michael’s Abbey, three sisters in white entered and sat in the first pew. I thought, “The
can’t be Norbertine sisters!” I think Jesus smiled, because they were Norbertine sisters and they eventually came from Slovakia and started our community in the United States! In 2014 I entered. When I received my new name, Philomena, which means “Daughter of Light,” I realized how much God has “loved graciously” that mischievous little girl. He adopted her and filled her with His light and love!
Since I entered I have worked mostly with children in our parish school and CCD program. It is such a joy to hear Jesus saying “Let the children come to me!” and to help the little ones get to know Him. I also work in the church sacristy, “housekeeping” for the Lord. In community, I love working, singing and playing basketball with my sisters, who show me God’s love daily As I prepare for my final vows I see God’s plan of “sheer goodness” unfolding. My prayer is that Jesus can use me to help other young women discover His plan of sheer goodness for them.
Learn more about Sr. Philomena and her community here: