Caroline Dawson - Story of my IBVM Call and Life

“… all of a sudden I started to listen to the movement of the Spirit inside of me.  The rest is history ….”“… all of a sudden I started to listen to the movement of the Spirit inside of me. The rest is history ….”I was blessed to be born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Surrounded by great beauty and a very loving family (with troubles of course), I had the opportunity to meet the Loretto Sisters at a young age. I attended Saint Patrick’s School where five of the teachers were Loretto Sisters who joined with the lay staff to provide a very fine elementary education. I then went to Loretto Academy for secondary school. Again I enjoyed the school very much. I remember particularly the leadership of the principal, Mother Chabanel, who introduced me to student clubs and mock assemblies for the United Nations – a world view which has influenced me throughout my life.

One of my close friends had wanted to be a sister since grade nine, and expected to join the Loretto Sisters after grade thirteen. I was happy for her, but had no interest in such a decision for myself until March of grade thirteen. I had a steady boyfriend; I wanted to go to Teachers’ College. But all of a sudden I started to listen to the movement of the Spirit inside of me. The rest is history….

Eventually I did become a teacher after studying History and English at the University of Toronto. I taught high school in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Ontario and Guelph, Ontario. It was the end of the sixties, and I wanted to better prepare myself for the new type of student. While I was Dean of Residence at Loretto College School, I started the Master of Divinity course. When I finished it, I was asked to become staff and then faculty at the Faculty of Theology, St. Michael’s College. Being an active member of the ecumenical Toronto School of Theology was both challenging and life-giving. During that period, I completed the Doctor of Ministry degree.

When I decided to leave St. Michael’s I returned to an earlier passion when I had been trained as a spiritual director and retreat facilitator. This led me to the Staff of Providence Spirituality Centre, Kingston; Loretto Christian Life Centre, Niagara Falls; and since it closed I continue in Niagara Falls in private practice and also as Faculty for the Haden Institute ( formation for people desiring to be spiritual directors) and as adjunct staff at Mount Carmel Centre, Niagara Falls.

Life continues to be interesting and challenging as a member of Mary Ward’s company.