Vocation story of Sister Amelia Nowatzke, OSB

My birth took place on a beautiful farm in Iowa, on which my family of eight lived. There was my prayerful mother, my hard working father, three brothers, two sisters and me, the youngest. My oldest sister told me I arrived at about midnight on November 29, 1928. She and my oldest brother heard me cry for the first time I entered the world. I was born at home.

I grew up with my three brothers who teased me a lot and my two sisters who loved me a lot. We had a hutch of white rabbits to pet. At Easter, the boys asked Mom for some collared eggs to make a nest in the rabbit hutch. They showed them to me and told me the bunnies laid them for Easter. I believed them. The boys were fun, even though they teased me. 

The years flew by, and soon it was time to go to St. Mary’s school in Panama, Iowa, where we lived. I was taught by Benedictine Sisters all twelve years, and they were wonderful, loving teachers.

 When I was in 5th grade, our teacher, Sister Mary Norbert, OSB was telling us about how she received her vocation. What an interesting story. It was then that I began thinking about what God wanted me to do with my life. Sister told us to pray to our Blessed Mother and ask her to help us make a decision. I followed her suggestion and prayed to Mary each day. By the time I entered High School, I was pretty sure I wanted to be a Benedictine Sister. I kept this my deep secret, and continued joining my classmates for fun parties and all. However I could feel God was with me, helping me always to make the right decisions.

World War II had begun and many of our boys were being called to give their lives for their country and my brother, Joe, was one of them. Living on a farm with much harvesting to be done without some of the boys was not easy. Mothers, young girls and young brothers had to pitch in to help. My sister Marie drove the tractor while I learned to run the blower on the threshing machine to make a nice looking haystack. I would then jump over to the grain wagon to keep it from overflowing during the threshing season. I enjoyed my job very much.

After graduating from High School, I kept praying to God for help. It was in 1952 that my parents were finally retired from the farm and moved to a new home they built in Panama. My youngest brother, Raymond, had married and settled on the farm with his new bride. All seemed to be working out now so with my parents’ consent and blessing, I entered the Monastery in Atchison on June 15, 1952, Father’s Day. What a gift my Mother and Dad gave to the Mount. I know I made the right decision because from the first day I entered, I have felt peace and happiness in my heart. Thanks be to God!

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