One of my fondest and dearest moments as a child was when my mother and father would take me to the nuns’ home in granite hills for church school. I did not know it was called a convent, as a child, it was just the ‘masers’ house. I have vivid memories of what it looked like; it was a little dark and there would be statues of our blessed mother or Jesus – which were a little scary from time to time. There were also huge olive trees and my parents would get mad at my siblings and I because we would always have olive fights during the break time and our clothes would be stained purple.
I feel proud to have had the opportunity to attend church school there each week. My family eventually outgrew the sisters home and our clothing were no longer stained with olive residue that we would give anything to catch a glimpse of that again.
Our community started to grow, which meant the little old convent was not suitable to our needs as a community. It was bittersweet when our church began to develop and we moved to our current cathedral. We moved a few times into different buildings or areas such as the entry of the church and then to the building that is now known as the Chaldean Media Center; eventually we expanded into classrooms. At that point the sisters were just known as Saturday schoolteachers who were in tune with traditional form of teaching as they taught communion. I actually always wondered where they slept at night. It seemed as though they never slept, they were at church day and night, and serving our community. I thought they slept on the church pews.
As time went on and as our church continued to flourish, about eight years ago, the Workers of the Vineyard Convent was established to serve the Chaldean community of San Diego.
I always thought I was a really hard-working person until I saw the work of the sisters’ first hand with the Workers of the Vineyard. From morning to evening prayer, to adoration, to church, to communion, to the youth, to helping the diocese, all along with maintaining friendships. I guess God really does give them more hours in a day than the laity. All in all I could not imagine my life without the sisters. My spiritual life would have never grown. I would have not known what Holy hour, adoration, Saints, evening prayer and parts of the bible without these wonderful humble sisters that we have.
I would have never imagined myself to be the person to want to go to the convent to see the sisters for my fun and comfort. The convent is where I went to seek refuge from a stressful day. I consider the sisters one of the most precious gifts from God that we are blessed to have. Each sister is unique in every way and has a special function of their own. One is obsessed with chocolate, one loves dragons, another is an amazing cook and just going through their extensive movie collection, we would have a movie buff gasp for breath! I realized that the sisters are special and at the same time they are still human! This is just a small fraction of what they are about. We are truly are blessed and I thank God for them everyday.