“THE LORD GOD IS MY STRENGTH AND MY SONG.” – ISAIAH 12:2
Mary Teresa was born in Oakland, California, but her parents moved to Pueblo, Colorado, when she was one, along with her younger sister. Mary Teresa (formerly known as Terry) wanted to become a sister at the age of nine. She told the family priest, “I want to be a nun. What do I do?” The family priest told her to pray. She prayed through grade school and middle school. As a sophomore in high school a friend laughed when she told him she wanted to be a nun. Her mother told her that since she was only a sophomore and kids can be very cruel, maybe she shouldn’t tell people about wanting to be a nun at that time. The topic was not discussed again for 45 years.
During those years, she went to college and majored in Bilingual Elementary Education. The bilingual program was very new and the course requirements would change every semester. After two years, Terry knew this wasn’t the right career choice. She became a medical secretary, transcriptionist, billing and insurance clerk. Her favorite job had been working with the patient’s in Radiation Oncology.
In 1979, she began to play the guitar. Quickly, her choice of music became songs of praise and she began to use her musical gift for worship during Mass. Her guitar teacher was a gentleman who had been paraplegic since birth. He and Chuck Hicks started a recreational wheelchair basketball team so other men in wheelchairs could have exercise and friendship. She met Chuck Hicks while helping with the wheelchair basketball team. On March 28, 1981, they were married. He was a retired Pueblo police officer who had been shot in the line of duty during an off duty incident. He lived his life in a wheelchair but was an inspiration to many. She became a step-mom to Chuck’s eight-year old son.
In 1995, Terry was drawn to the Native American flute and began to play. After 25 years of working in medicine, she decided she wanted to do something else. She was licensed as an insurance producer and worked for a State Farm Insurance agent for several years, but she missed being with the patient’s in medicine. In 2001, she began taking pre-nursing courses. In 2005, she graduated from Pueblo Community College as an RN. She had always loved oncology and was blessed to work the night shift caring for the oncology patients at St. Mary Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado. On September 24, 2012, her husband of 31 ½ years passed away. Her step-son was grown and married. Having given her life to God’s care at the age of nine, she knew that God had a plan. She didn’t know what that would be but she trusted.
God had been her strength and song for her entire life and now was no different. After grieving for a time, she began to wonder what and where the Lord wanted her to go.“OK Lord. What’s next? I’m ready.” Remembering her call at age nine, she smiled. She thought being a sister wasn’t an option because she had been married. While seeking information about being an Oblate at Benet Hill Monastery, she discovered there was a possibility she could actually still become a sister! Her first response was, “Really!!??” 45 years later?
God’s timing is surely not ours! During the Come and See Weekend at the monastery, she had a very profound experience. At the end of the weekend she said to Sister Mary Colleen the same thing she had said to the priest when she was nine, “I want to be a sister. What do I do?” And so the calling she felt so long ago was rekindled. She now is in Spiritual formation and still singing God’s praise with her guitar and Native American flute.