Sisters Share First Communion Memories

Sister Regina Coll, CSJ, an 89-year-old Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood, New York, shared that she was recently talking about First Communion memories with Sisters over dinner.

“Over and over memories from seven-year-old minds toppled out: special clothes, favorite foods, aunts and uncles and cousins sharing the celebration,” she said. “What I gathered was that we all remembered a very special event that was truly communal.”

For generations, Catholic Sisters have helped prepare boys and girls for their First Communion. We asked them to share their favorite memories and pictures of their students on this holy day, as well as pictures and reminisces from their own First Communion days.

Through their example and their teaching, the Sisters in our lives have inspired us and shown us the face of God.  I hope you’ll find it in your heart to recognize the wonderful contributions of the religious who prepared us for the Sacraments and for life. It’s now our turn to be the caring, compassionate face of God to them. Will you prayerfully consider making your most generous donation to help aging Sisters, Brothers and Priests today? 

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First Communion Memories

Sister Mary Clouser, SSJ
I made my First Communion at St. Raphael’s in Piffard, New York. It was a small church and I was the only one in the First Communion class. My brothers were unhappy because it meant we had to sit in the front of the Church and not the back and my mother would not let them turn around in the pew!
Sister Mary Clouser, SSJSisters of St. Joseph of Rochester
Sister Philothea, SS.C.M.
When my older brother was in first grade and receiving First Communion, and I was in kindergarten and also attending CCD, Sister Justine told our parish priest that I was ready to receive even though I was only 5 years old, so my big brother and I received Penance and Eucharist together. I am convinced that the seed of my religious vocation took firm root at my First Communion, because from then on all I wanted to become was “a Sister.”
Sister Philothea, SS.C.M.Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius
Sister Margaret Teahan, OP
I received my First Holy Communion when I was seven and a half years old. I recall during the long walk from our home on that very rainy day, my Mom reminded me that this was the day I would receive Jesus and could always depend on God to love me and be with me. I was thrilled to wear the special dress that Mom made and the gold crucifix that she gave to me! My relationship with Christ and His presence in my heart has matured over my long lifetime and continues to grow stronger daily.
Sister Margaret Teahan, OPDominican Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary
Sister Teresa Magdalen Meade, CSJ
In Puerto Rico I prepared many groups of boys and girls for their First Holy Communion. What impressed me most during the classes was their unwavering love of God and faith in Jesus Christ. One of the older boys proclaimed, “I know that Jesus loves me because He always loved the bad guys and I’m one of them, even though I try to be good.” That strengthened my own faith in God’s loving heart and I pray that as older adults those children are well aware of the love and understanding of Jesus for all of us as we try to be “good.”
Sister Teresa Magdalen Meade, CSJSisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood
Sister Sandra Ann Weinke, SSND
Such a “tomboy” I was! On my First Communion Day, or the day after, I was at my friend, Eunice’s house, and jumped off her porch catching my white veil on the railing. When mom repaired it, my veil was a bit shorter than all the girls in my second grade class.
Sister Sandra Ann Weinke, SSNDSchool Sisters of Notre Dame
Sister Barbara Bell, OP
I have several memories. It was 1938 and those were the days of fasting from food and drink, no water. We met in our classroom and all the water fountains were tied up so we couldn’t take a drink. When it was time to go to receive Jesus, two altar boys held a long white cloth and several of us came up to kneel at it and receive Jesus.
Sister Barbara Bell, OPSinsinawa Dominican Sisters
Sister Elizabeth David Scannell, OP
My First Communion day is a bittersweet memory. Although my mother died before I was 5 years old, my father wanted this occasion to be a happy day for my siblings and me. After mass he took us to breakfast (a rare treat) and then we drove to Calvary Cemetery to visit my mother’s grave. Some people might have thought this to be a little maudlin, but it became a tradition we continued for all future communions and confirmations — a way of including my mother in these special days — and is a treasured memory for me.
Sister Elizabeth David Scannell, OPDominican Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary
Sister KC Young, OP
In 1971 I was preparing my first class of First Communicants in South Central Los Angeles. One of my 7-year-old students named Santiago asked this beautiful question as I explained what privilege we have to receive the consecrated host: “Sister, can I really be a house for God?”
Sister KC Young, OPSinsinawa Dominican Sisters
Sister Marilyn Mulvey, CSJ
My memories of my First Communion begin with the many practices that would lead up to the big day. I remember walking into church, girls on the left side, boys on the right and all kneeling together at the sound of Sister’s clicker. We all rose as one person at the sound of two clicks and entered the pews. I remember receiving the unblessed host at practice and being told not to chew the host as it was the Body of Christ. When the big day arrived the sun shone bright in an azure blue sky. We all looked beautiful in our dresses and handsome in suits of blue.
Sister Marilyn Mulvey, CSJSisters of Saint Joseph of Brentwood
Sister Ann Carol Kaufenberg, SSND
I remember the joy and the solemnity of the day. There were a few details I also remember: our pastor didn’t have white books for the girls, so I got a black communion prayer book. It was my joy and challenge to keep up with the priest in reading the Latin words as he said the Mass. My book was a wreck by the time I got out of grade school and we moved to the English Mass prayers. I just got the candle back from my 9- year-old mother that I received on that day. That is another treasured memory of invocations from my teacher to not burn the veil of the girl ahead of me!
Sister Ann Carol Kaufenberg, SSNDSchool Sisters of Notre Dame