Meet Sister Annette Lucero
Where were you born? I was born and raised in northern New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, surrounded by mountains and clear mountain air. It was a simple life and one cradled in family and Church. Being raised in a Hispanic family, relatives and religion were vital in my upbringing and interwoven into my DNA.
How many siblings do you have? I am the youngest of six with three brothers and two sisters. I often tell my siblings that I am the only youngest child who is not spoiled! For some reason they don’t believe me.
Did you attend Catholic elementary school or high school? I did not attend either Catholic elementary school or high school since there were none in our area. I went to public school, but at that time, the Catholic faith was integrated into the system because “everybody was Catholic.”
Did you attend a Catholic college? What was your Major? Yes, my undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature from Chestnut Hill College in Chestnut Hill, PA. My graduate degree is a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago and I have done postgraduate work at Barry University in Miami Shores, FL.
How old were you when you felt the call to religious life? Was there a particular event that helped you hear this call? My call to religious life came when I was 21 years old and made a few spiritual retreats at a retreat house where our Dominican Sisters ministered in Albuquerque, NM. I had recently experienced the sudden death of my father and found myself searching for a greater understanding of how my life was unfolding. With the help of one Sister, I was able to come to terms with my father’s death and to realize that God was calling me to serve others through religious life.
Who was supportive of your becoming a sister? Did anyone try to convince you to take another path? I have one particular brother to thank for encouraging me to follow this journey into religious life. When I spoke to my mother about my plans, she had a very difficult time letting me go. Being the youngest in the family and a daughter, my mother hoped I would live at home for the foreseeable future. Also, because no one in my family was familiar with anyone who left home to enter religious life, this was a very foreign experience for us, even though we had a strong Catholic foundation. Eventually, my brother and I were able to convince my mother that I needed to at least give this call a try. In addition, there were several people with whom I worked who were amazed that I would be interested in religious life. In fact, I remember one person in particular saying to me “what a waste”!
What attracted you to the Dominican order? To the Dominican Sisters of Peace? My initial attraction to the Dominican order was more of an attraction to the retreat ministry that involved the sisters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I saw and experienced how compassionate and joyful they were with people who were seeking a closer relationship with God. As I got to know them better, I came to realize that these gifts of compassion and joy came forth from their relationship with God in prayer and their lived experience in community. I further learned about what it means to be a Dominican Sister of Peace through the four pillars of Dominican life–Prayer, Study, Community and Ministry.
What do you like about being a religious sister? I have come to appreciate how God has been at work in my journey in religious life. While this life has not always been easy, I have felt God’s presence through the ups and downs of my life. Being a religious sister has allowed me to experience a world far beyond the one I could have ever imagined. This life has indeed been a world with many amazing adventures!
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a religious sister? Moving from a place and ministry that I have grown to love to an unknown place and ministry is oftentimes the most challenging aspect of responding to this call as a religious sister. It is always difficult to leave a place and ministry and to start over, but I find that God always gives us the grace for what we need and my sisters in community often offer support and encouragement along with words of wisdom.
What ministries have you been involved in? Retreat ministry and parish ministry are the two primary ministries that I have been engaged in. Through these ministries, I have learned different ways of searching for and finding God in today’s world. What I have also discovered is how to minister to people in different geographical regions and within different cultural groups. I feel truly blessed to have had these experiences of serving in retreat and parish ministry.
What spiritual practice is most important to you in your faith life and why? Different forms of prayer have been very important to me. Prayer in community, for example, offers me a solid foundation for what it means to be a religious sister. At the same time, my individual experiences of prayer help to enrich my own relationship with God. Together, both communal and individual prayer have allowed me to grow in being a Child of God and a woman of Peace.
What are your hobbies and interests? I enjoy spending time in nature, whether it’s hiking or going out for a walk. I find that nature helps me to connect with God in a very powerful way. Also, I love to read books and often find myself reading three different books at the same time from different genres.
What are your thoughts on the future of religious life? I feel very positive about the future of religious life. It may not be how we have experienced it in the past, or how we are experiencing it now, but I believe it will be a part of the future. I believe religious life offers a very valuable gift, not only to the Church, but also to society as well. Religious life is ever evolving and still offers some very foundational meaning to how we live our lives and what God calls us to be. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)