Sister Lucille Stelly, SSF, 89

“I had no other desire than to be a nun,” says Sister Lucille Stelly, 89, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Family in New Orleans.

Growing up, faith was central to her family life. “My father was a very religious person,” she explains. “We would attend Mass as a family. I was naturally drawn to the Mass and have always had a great love for it.”

Sister Lucille was introduced to religious life both through the teachers she had in school and her extended family, including two aunts who were Sisters of the Holy Family. After graduating high school, she says she worked for a time but “always knew that I would become a sister.”

She entered her community in 1950. After two years of study at the novitiate in New Orleans, she was sent to Oklahoma for her first assignment and lived in a convent with two other sisters, who were teachers. Sister Lucille’s ministry was social outreach that focused on visiting area families in their homes.

After Oklahoma, Sister Lucille returned to Louisiana. There, she taught in various schools for about 15 years before transitioning into nursing home ministry. She served first as a caregiver and later as a nursing assistant, not retiring until her early eighties.

Today, she lives in her congregational motherhouse. She continues to contribute to community life in various ways, including helping to wash the dishes daily. Surrounded by her sisters, she is sustained by a shared commitment to prayer and service. “I enjoy being with a group of nuns,” she says. “We work together and have similar interests.”

What’s Sister Lucille’s recipe for a long, happy life? “It’s no secret, really,” she says. “Just do whatever God calls you to do.”