Vocation Story of Sister Grace Malaney, OSB
My family was not Catholic. My parents came from a Baptist background, but we did not participate in a formal church. When I was ready for second grade, my parents decided to send me to a Catholic grade school, as it had a really good reputation. The minute I saw my teacher, a Dominican sister in full habit, I decided that I wanted to be a sister too. My older sister also started in Catholic school, and after a very short time, she asked if she could be baptized a Catholic. My parents were ok with that, so she came into the Church. I remember being envious of her new white rosary and pearl-covered First Communion Prayerbook.
When my father got out of the U.S. Navy in 1943 after World War II, we moved to California. I attended a school in Los Angeles, staffed by Franciscans. One day, my teacher asked if anyone wanted to become a Catholic. I was the only one who raised a hand. I think it was a set-up. So I asked my parents if I could take special instructions on Saturdays so that I could be baptized. They explained that it was my decision and would become my responsibility to do all that the Church asked. So when I was 11 years old, I became a Catholic, and would attend Mass every Sunday by myself.
Soon after that, we moved back to the Kansas City area, and I finished grade school with Sisters of St. Joseph as my teachers, and then attended a high school taught by Benedictines. I was a very shy person and switching to so many different schools had made me even more so. I didn’t know when I was ever going to share with anyone my desire to become a Sister. So I devised this plan: during my Freshman year, I would pray about it; during my Sophomore year, I would share my desire in Confession to a priest; during Junior year, I would tell one of my Benedictine teachers, and during my Senior year, I would tell my parents. Well, thoughts about my vocation stayed with me during those years, but I got to the end of my Senior year with no action taken. In late May, the school band of which I was a member, took a field trip to Atchison, Kansas, to play and march at the monastery of Benedictine women called Mount St. Scholastica. After our performance, a sister approached me, Sister Mary David who taught at my high school, but whom I had never had as a teacher, and asked if I wanted to go see the Mother Superior about entering the convent. I replied “Yes” without any hesitation. Dressed in my band uniform and carrying my slide trombone, I had my interview with Mother Mary Alfred and she said I could come on June 13.
I went home and that night told my parents what I wanted to do. They asked if I was sure and I said yes. They told me that they wanted me to be happy and if that was what I really wanted to do, then it would bring happiness to them also. So I entered the Benedictine community of Mount St. Scholastica on June 13, 1953.
In my religious life, I have taught in primary, middle, secondary, and college levels. Also I served in Brazil as a missionary for about 8 years. I am now living at our home in the monastery in Atchison and help serve as a phone receptionist among other tasks assigned to me.
What I love the most about this life in community is praying together at our morning, midday, and evening prayer.