top of page

Eilis McCulloh

Religious Community
Sisters of the Humility of Mary

Youngstown, Ohio 

Westminster College


What were you doing before you entered this discernment/formation program?
I worked with refugees in Minnesota, which is where I first started thinking about discerning.


How did your education influence your vocation decision?
I wouldn’t have been ready to make the decision after high school. College helped me explore and meet people who grew up in different environments than I did. Being exposed to different faiths and worldviews helped me expand my knowledge and make a much more informed decision. 


What has been the most difficult part about adjusting to religious life?
For me it’s leaving my job. I have been a case manager for a refugee resettlement agency for three years. The whole idea of leaving is tough. It’s a very important part of my life. I have become very ingrained and welcomed into these communities. 


What spiritual gift do you think you bring to the order?
I bring a different viewpoint to the community. Being someone who is younger and had different experiences. Many were teachers and nurses who entered out of high school. I went to college and worked—it’s a different perspective. Also, I worked with people who lack basic necessities. No stove, no shower, an so on, so I don’t take things for granted now. I have learned a lot about the loss they’ve endured fleeing from one country to another, losing family members, and bonding with other refugees.


What would you tell someone considering a religious vocation but unsure of next steps?
I would tell them what someone told me: “Just try it!” You have a minimum of six years between candidacy and final vows, so there is time to test the waters. Also, sisters range from 29 to 100 years old, and we are a community. We laugh, we are filled with joy, we have a good time while being centered in God and living with same purpose. There’s nothing like it.


What do you do to renew your strength and focus when it comes to your faith? Where do you turn for support?
For me it’s important to take a step back to regroup, to take a quick walk around the block and just breathe. But also I talk it through with others. The sisters I live with have experience and can offer advice and support. 


What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? 20?
I’d like to stay in refugee work. We have had sisters who have worked in those areas for years.


If you met Jesus today and could ask him one question, what would it be?
Where are we going, the whole world, going together with this? With everything going on in the world with war and hatred, I would like to know its purpose in his plan. 


What do you do for fun?
I spend time with friends, especially outside. I like to go swimming and to movies, too.


What would you like to say to the Hilton Foundation, who made this grant

I’d just like to give them a huge thank you! I know that the education I received is
definitely going to help me in religious life.


Sr. Eilis is a regular columnist for Global Sisters Report and U.S. Catholic. In addition her work recently appeared in VISION Vocation Guide.


bottom of page