A Visit From Our Sisters
Pictured: (from left to right) Sr. Therese Falcon, S. Praem. and Sr. Adriana Gacikova, S. Praem. at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin
Recently Sr. Adriana Gacikova, S. Praem. and Sr. Therese Falcon, S. Praem. from the Congregation of Norbertine Sisters in California visited the abbey. They were in town as part of the 900th Anniversary of the founding of the Norbertine Order. The sisters gave a presentation at St. Norbert College to students, faculty, and the community about the founding of their order and way of life in California.
Sr. Adriana was born and raised in Slovakia under communism. She was taught from a young age to not ask questions. When she was young and felt God’s call to do something, but didn’t know what or how she didn’t ask questions. Instead she took to prayer. At the time, religious sisterhoods were not accepted under communism, so to her knowledge it didn’t exist. One day in her teenage years, her parish priest began to speak about religious sisters. The word for a religious sister is the same as a nurse, and raised not to ask questions, Sr. Adriana started to pursue nursing as her course of study. A few years later when a group of visiting sisters met with her, they showed her their place of worship. It was then Sr. Adriana realized there was a place for a sisterhood, and felt the overwhelming feeling that this is where she belonged.
Sr. Therese is a native of California. When she was very young, she saw a group of sisters at her parish and told her mother that one day she wanted to wear a dress just like those women. As she grew up she began to understand more about religious sisterhood. Once high school came around she was running with a crowd that changed her mindset and she was going down a darker path. When she was 18, her parents sent her on a pro life retreat. It was there she realized it is okay to love yourself and knew she wanted to do something, she just didn’t know what. She opened herself up and allowed herself to be guided. Sr. Therese felt the call when she visited with the Norbertine sisters, and recalls seeing a statue of Jesus and feeling his presence and his arms around her telling her she’s home.
The congregation in California was founded in 2011 and was the first group of Norbertine sisters to come to America. Sr. Adriana was one of the three who initially came to the United States starting the congregation. She studied at St. Norbert College to learn English, in order to start it. She remembers how extremely friendly the people on campus and in De Pere were. In 2014 they opened their doors for formation to accept new sisters. Currently there are 11 women living in the two communities in California.
The biggest joys of living in sisterhood have been the community life and the feeling of being a part of a family. It feels like participating in something bigger than yourself. They love seeing people who are looking for something authentic and being able to provide that. Their ministry and work with children and the schools is also one of the great joys of life in California.
While here at the abbey, they have appreciated the kindness and hospitality of the Norbertines. What strikes them most walking through the abbey halls is the great respect and attention brought to the saints and the blessed of the Norbertine Order through the many statues and stained glass windows. When walking into the main lobby there is a lineage of the Norbertines, and they hope to one day build their sisterhood to look as full and vibrant.
We were created to live in a family and nobody wants to be alone, and that is the essence of why they believe women feel drawn to their community. There are many beautiful ways to live a faithful life, and they encourage people to be open to whatever way that may be.
For more information on the Congregation of Norbertine Sisters in California please visit https://www.congregationofnorbertinesisters.org/
For more information or questions on the Norbertines and St. Norbert Abbey please visit https://norbertines.org/ or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org