Faced with the struggle of having cancer since birth and the loss of her eye, Sharon’s young life was very challenging. This was a difficult time for her and her family. The Lord’s healing was with her, and she came through this trial to seek God in a real way. Her desire to become a Sister was a response of love.
Sharon was born in Montreal, Quebec, in Canada with a cancerous tumor in her eye. The doctors did not discover this until she was four years old. At the tender age of four and a half years, her eye was surgically removed. Chances were great that the cancer had spread to her head and other parts of her body.
Sharon’s childhood was a time of many doctor’s appointments and a number of surgeries related to her eye. Until she was twelve she lived with a great fear that she would die from cancer. Then to her relief the doctors were confident that the cancer had not spread to other parts of her body.
Sharon’s mom, Mrs. Cahill, entered the Catholic Church when Sharon was four years old. Her parents’ worship at Sunday Mass taught Sharon the importance of her Catholic faith. She always thought and wondered about God and holiness. She found herself attracted to people that were living holy lives.
This attraction caused her to ask God if He was real. She was nineteen when He revealed Himself to her in a deep and personal way. She fell in love with God as her Father, and then came to know Jesus as the Son of God.
After experiencing God’s great love for her, Sharon wanted to dedicate her whole life to God in some way. She considered either getting married or becoming a Sister. Receiving spiritual direction helped her recognize that the Lord was calling her to religious life.
Sharon came to the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in 1989. She received her new name, Sister Kateri when she entered the novitiate and made her perpetual profession of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in December of 1998.
Although it is common to think of a religious vocation as a life of sacrifice, Sr. Kateri states, ”I did not think of my vocation to be a Sister in terms of sacrifice, but as a natural reply to God’s great love for me.” Sister Kateri has been blessed with an exceptionally beautiful gift for music.
God surely was present in Sister Kateri’s young life through the trial of cancer. He faithfully brought her through that trial with His healing, so that she could live her life as a bride of Christ in our community.