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A Tale of Faith and Family: How an EWTN Priest and His Sister Embarked on Parallel Paths in Religious Life



“What do you desire?”

This is a beautiful question that intelligent women hear when they knock on the door to officially enter the Poor Clares of Perpetua.

Franciscan Father Patrick Mary of the Perpetual Word Mission had the honor of blessing Sister Siobhan before her life was changed forever.

At the age of 28, Siobhan joined the Order of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in a convent. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the founder of EWTN, Sister Angelica, was also a nun of this order.

Father Patrick sat down with ChurchPOP to discuss the Franciscan missionaries’ social media photos of this special event.

Father Patrick recalls his journey into religious life as the eldest of eight children and raised in a military family.

“When we lived in Germany, at one point, we started praying the rosary as a family together,” he said. “I think that really had a powerful impact on our family, but also that would come to bear fruit later.”

My father joked that when he was young his mother asked him if he wanted to be a priest and he never said yes.

But during his freshman year at the University of Miami, he began to think more about the priesthood. During a family Christmas trip to Alabama, they visited the Holy of Holies at midnight.

“Back in 2000, during that Mass, I experienced the call to the priesthood,” Father Patrick shared. “I felt a very strong interior pull and it was unmistakable.”

His father said he was interested in the simple life of the Franciscans.

In 2002, Father Patrick officially entered religious life. “Siobhan was seven when I came in.

“When I attended a big event in Florida, they went to the Holy of Holies,” he explained. Sometimes they would visit the sisters in the living room, so Siobhan was able to meet them at a very young age.

“I think that’s when she felt that initial attraction toward that life– from a young age– just her interactions with the Poor Clares at the monastery in Hanceville.”

Siobhan lived steadily, living one day at a time. He studied music at university and sang in the EWTN Choir and the Cathedral Choir. That person was also a substitute teacher.

He dated after college, but according to his father, it didn’t seem to be where the Lord was leading him. She recalls that Siobhan took her faith very seriously and began to consider visiting Poor Clare.

She invited her sister to a retreat organized by the Poor Clares for young women. After that he visited several more times and even lived at the monastery.

According to her father, after Siobhan’s visit brought her peace, the Lord confirmed that he had brought her into this life.

“I was a bit surprised. I thought maybe she would be a Dominican since they teach, but when she visited, she felt really drawn to their life of prayer and adoration.” 

Poor Clare of the Perpetual Cult is a monk who leads a solitary lifestyle. Although this lifestyle is a huge sacrifice, they are not the only ones creating it.

Their families and friends must also fall victim to lifetime visits limited by the fence between them.

“For me, it is a pure joy,” Father Patrick stated. “On a natural level, I did have that thought of the sacrificial aspect. We won’t have as much communication with her as we did in the past, but at the same time, that sacrifice is a beautiful gift to God and a blessing for our family to know our sister, my parents’ daughter, is there praying for us, the Church, and the world.”

He also says that these little excursions will help you get the most out of your time with him and make your greetings more meaningful.

“My parents are very joy-filled about her doing this and very happy for her,” Father Patrick said. “There is a bittersweet aspect, but it is certainly more joyful.”

Imagine: Siobhan Blessing

“It was a great gift that I was able to give her a blessing before she knocked on the door to seek entrance.”

His father described a conversation that took place as the critical woman solemnly knelt and knocked on the court door.

He emphasized the sacredness of this protocol. When the door opens, Siobhan says the right thing and enters. She then enters the arms of the other sisters and receives a veil and a medal. The next time I see him will be his first official visit to the salon on his list as he is currently an applicant.

Her father recalls how Siobhan’s childhood relationship with Clara transformed her entire career.

“Spending life before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament– she felt a great peace and drawn towards it,” Father Patrick explained.

“Spending all that time in prayer before the Lord in the Holy Eucharist and living life in Eucharistic adoration has given her a lot of strength, grace, and peace.”

Finally, my father expressed his gratitude to his parents for setting a good example.

The rosary was influential for both of us to be open later to answer the call to religious life.”

He then shared prayerful advice for each of us to be open to our callings and any callings we may receive.

“I encourage you to pray, ‘Jesus, help me to want what you want.'”