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Wauwatosa woman leaves successful business career to become a nun

Posted at 7:37 AM, Sep 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 13:08:03-04

This is part of a series on people dropping everything to follow their ‘Passion Project’. See more stories of Wisconsinites following their dreams here and here.

WAUWATOSA — TODAY'S TMJ4 has been looking at people who have given up successful careers to follow their dreams. The first was a successful corporate lawyer turned entrepreneur, then a veteran car mechanic turned photographer.

Now we are featuring a woman whose decision was not based on finding another line of work but a higher calling.

Praying five times each day, on top of daily Mass and meditation in the morning and at night, Sister Rose Therese lives and breathes her passion every day, which takes more discipline than you might imagine.

"How often can you call your family?" asked our Julia Fello. Sister Rose Therese answered, "We are allowed to call once a month."

How she got here may be just as fascinating. She made the decision to give up everything to be part of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus at 34 years old.

"I have achieved enough more personally: school and career and money, but it doesn't satisfy me," said Sister Rose Therese.

She spent eight years as a successful steel industry analyst in the Philippines. "I usually enjoy myself traveling to Asian countries and shopping. That's my second profession after analyst!"

A question her priest asked her while carrying shopping bags stopped her in her tracks. "It's a good thing that you have always something on your hand but how about this," Sister Rose Therese said, pointing at her heart.

When she traveled to America to visit her sister, she decided to search for something online, googling the Carmelite Ministry. She got an immediate response to visit a congregation in Michigan. There, she witnessed someone in their nursing home die in front of her as she prayed, "That experience (told) me this is the one that I'm looking for."

A decade later, she now calls Wauwatosa home. Using skills from her former career, she is helping her congregation open a 15-unit building next month that will house women who are living with intellectual disabilities. "They're like our children. We'll be taking care of them."

The sisters are still working to raise millions of dollars to pay off the new building, which is opening in October. Click here to learn more.