Sr. Mary Joy of our Father

 

I was born in Portland, Oregon, the second of three children born to David and Virginia Bernklau. I grew up outside of Canby and graduated from La Salle High School in
Milwaukie. Our home parish where I received all my sacraments and my initial faith formation was St. Patrick’s in Canby. For college I attended Franciscan University of Steubenville, which was an amazing place to grow in my faith. Growing up, I knew that my Catholic faith was important, but I had almost no exposure to religious life, so I never really thought about it until I first met young religious and peers considering religious life at Franciscan. The idea of a religious vocation seemed beautiful, but I didn’t think it was for me! An attraction to mission work led me to volunteer at St. Ann’s Mission on Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, where I first met my community, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). I loved the community life, and being able to pray and serve together with the other volunteers as well the priests and religious serving that mission. I really loved the Marian spirituality, missionary life, and family spirit that I experienced with the SOLT, but it was still a surprise when I experienced the Lord calling me to this vocation of total dedicati
on to Him and to serving His people! When I first felt called to religious life, I was hesitant, but by God’s grace I took the initial step of entering formation in February 2008 and experienced so much peace in that step. I made my first vows on July 14, 2011, and have had the joy of serving in missions in Belize (Central America), Colorado, and now Phoenix. God-willing, I will be making my perpetual vows on July 11, 2017, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The joy, peace, and adventures that one finds in following Christ do not compare to anything else!