50 Years: Rosalie Carol Locati, SP
Sr. Rosalie Carol Locati
I was born on Valentine’s Day, 1943, at St. Mary Hospital, Walla Walla, Wash., to Joseph James Locati and Angelica Bossini Locati. My brother, Gary Eugene Locati, and I were raised within a tight-knit extended family that included uncles, aunts, cousins and many other Italian family friends. We attended an Italian parish, St. Francis of Assisi, and as a family we regularly participated in the liturgical, spiritual and social life of the parish.
I received my education in Catholic schools: St. Patrick Grade School, St. Patrick High School and DeSales Catholic High School. From my earliest years in a parochial school staffed by the Sisters of Providence, sisters and priests were welcomed into our home for visits, meals and celebrations. I loved the sisters and frequently could be found helping the sisters at St. Vincent Academy, which housed both the sisters’ convent and the classrooms of St. Patrick High School.
Heard God call her by name
On Saturday afternoons I would assist Sister Gertrude, sister cook, in serving homeless men who came to the kitchen door of the academy. My mother would cook a delicious Italian meal for the sisters at the end of each school year. This was a special event for the sisters and for me. I loved each of my sister teachers and admired them. I also was attached to Sister Joseph of Arimathea, superior at St. Mary Hospital, who let me follow her as she made rounds throughout the hospital.
It was during many hours spent with the sisters beginning when I was very young, that I first experienced the desire to “become a sister.” Their dedication and compassion in teaching and nursing ministries attracted me. I heard God call me by name. Each evening as I said my prayers, I crossed my arms and prayed that God would “make me a good Sister of Providence.” My brother would tease me when I did something wrong or got into a “fight” with him. He’d say, “That’s not how a sister would act.” I would respond, “I am not a sister yet!”
In entered the religious community on August 15, 1961, at Providence Heights, Issaquah, Wash. My parents, brother, family and friends encouraged me and supported me in my decision to enter. Still, some wondered how I would be able to adjust to leaving my loving family, entering into the “silence,” the discipline and the decorum of religious life. I was not exactly a shy, quiet or even “refined” young lady. I was more of an outgoing, noisy, fun-loving and “social” 18-year-old. It would be a challenge for me, but I embraced it with energy and desire. I dare say that although the “rough” edges were smoothed, my spirit and love of life remained.
As campus minister, learned to laugh, cry, dance and celebrate
Graduating from Seattle University in 1966, I was assigned to teach second grade at St. Francis Xavier School in Missoula, Mont. In 1968 I was sent to St. Gerard School in Great Falls, where I taught a first- and second-grade combined class. Next came two years of teaching third grade. By 1971 I again was assigned to St. Francis in Missoula, where I taught sixth grade for four years. Following my teaching years, I served on the Formation Team from 1975 to 1980. From 1980 to 1984 I served as co-director of vocations and secretariat for ministries formation for the Diocese of Spokane.
In late spring 1984, Bishop Lawrence Welsh asked me to go to Pullman, Wash., to serve as part-time campus minister at St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center at Washington State University (WSU). In 1985 moved to Pullman to begin full-time campus ministry. I had the privilege and joy of serving the university students and families at WSU for 15 years. Spiritual, faith and community formation for young adults captured my heart. I learned to laugh, cry, dance and celebrate with amazing young people as they grew in their faith, personal and professional lives. I helped them channel their energy, generosity, curiosity and creativity into service to Church, community and society. I formed ongoing, deep friendships and relationships with many students and their families. I am forever blessed and changed by my campus ministry years at Washington State University.
As I reflect on my life and ministry as a Sister of Providence, I am overwhelmed by the treasures Divine Providence has provided in my personal, community and professional life. My precious family, religious sisters, faithful friends and colleagues have encouraged, supported, comforted and challenged me to spiritual and personal growth over the years. I have had incredible opportunities to learn, and to be open to new and changing realities in religious life, Church, ministry and social justice. I have been privileged to travel to the Middle East, Europe, Central America and throughout Canada, where I met amazing, inspiring and diverse peoples.
Each experience has influenced and transformed my life and understanding of being part of a world community. Although for 50 years I have lovingly embraced my vocation, those years have not been without challenge, occasional struggle, and questions. Consistently, however, Providence has been and remains the center and heart of my life.
While I continue in full-time ministry as director of mission and values for Providence hospitals in Spokane, Wash., I will celebrate Jubilee with companions, family and colleagues during the year.