“I always knew I wanted to teach and serve the church. It’s why I entered, but it’s not why I stay. I want to live in community with women who want to serve God as I do. It’s a way to live out our baptismal commitment to others who share the same deep values of community and prayer.”
When Sister Mary Lee Grady, SDS reflects on her years of professed life as a Sister of the Divine Savior, she rejoices in celebrating the gift of vocation she believes God gives each of us.
“What I consider the great gift of religious life I also consider the greatest challenge, and that is community living,” says Sr. Mary Lee (formerly Sr. Melanie). “I always knew I wanted to teach and serve the church. It’s why I entered, but it’s not why I stay. I want to live in community with women who want to serve God as I do. It’s a way to live out our baptismal commitment to others who share the same deep values of community and prayer.”
Sr. Mary Lee fulfilled her dream to teach during more than 20 years at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee. She also served there as a guidance counselor and member of the administrative team. After ministering 13 years in Province Leadership, she now serves on the New Membership Team and as a licensed therapist in addictions counseling for Milwaukee-area behavioral health facilities. Sr. Mary Lee is inspired by a passage from her congregation’s Rule of Life, which she received when she professed first vows in 1961: At all times, our concern is for the salvation of the whole person.
“I feel I can do that in serving the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological needs in my vocation/formation ministry, as well as in counseling persons who struggle with addiction and mental illness.”
When it comes to helping women respond to the call to religious life, Sr. Mary Lee says, “I love formation; I love working one-on-one with women and watching God’s work in them.” She says attending international formation meetings in Poland and Bogota, Colombia was one of many highlights of her years as a Salvatorian. Sharing formation goals and dreams in international settings fostered her appreciation for being a member of an international congregation.
“We see the church and the world from a global perspective,” says Sr. Mary Lee, “and it’s something to be very proud of. The opportunity to see how different members of our congregation minister to different needs around the world enriches our own experience.”
Sr. Mary Lee came to know the Salvatorian Sisters when she attended Divine Savior High School. Early memories of the Salvatorian Sisters include Sr. Margaret Bosch, SDS, who she had for sophomore home room, theology, Latin and German. Sr. Mary Lee went on to major in Latin, German and French, as well as education at Mt. Mary College, and then earned a master’s degree in counseling from Marquette University.