2015 Jubilarian – Evelyn (Mary Louis) Craig
Sister Evelyn (“Evie”) Craig began thinking about becoming a nun as early as the eighth grade. She and her six siblings were raised in Akron, Ohio, and attended St. Mary, where they were taught by the IHM Sisters. She was captivated by Sister Joan McGrath’s spirit and became aware of the opportunity to “be a part of the bigger world and important things with these women,” Sister Evie recalls. “Doing more than I could do on my own.”
With the support of her family, she joined the community right after high school. Her first mission was teaching eighth grade at St. Patrick in Carleton, Mich. After two years, she went to Kirkwood, Mo., and taught eighth grade at St. Gerard Majella. She was only there for two years before becoming principal, her ministry for the next six years. During that time, she completed her master’s degree in education from the University of Detroit.
A retreat at Marianist Apostolic Center in Glencoe, Mo., led her to minister there, leading retreats for high school seniors while taking courses to become a spiritual director for adults. Sister Evie provided spiritual direction for adults during the summer through the Institute for Religious Formation in St. Louis.
She went to John Carroll University in Cleveland to lead directed retreats, and six years later, moved to Bowling Green State University for campus ministry. During a year of renewal in California, she questioned ordination. Her questioning was never a concern for the community; they knew she was walking “into the arms of God.” She came to realize the “spiritual freedom” she had with the IHM community.
You are Life, Energy Beauty, Wisdom.
In humility we seek only to play our natural and love-designed role here.1
Sister Evie moved back to Monroe, where she ministered at Visitation Spirituality Center, developed new protocols for membership and served as novice director. Working with women discerning their religious vocation invited her to, “not take my own call for granted, but to enable it again.” This was the source of her greatest joy, “working with new members and inquiring members. It was a time of renewal for me. I chose again.”
After 11 years, she became a spiritual director at a retreat center in Louisville, Ky. For the past five years, she has been serving in campus ministry at Duke University Divinity School. “There,” says, “I am swimming in ecumenical goodness.”
Throughout her religious life, she has enjoyed the freedom to develop her spiritual life. She has always listened “deeply to where I’m being called.” She is most grateful for “having encountered the spirit in our congregation of sincerity and encouragement, and the ability to be myself … Inviting me to be the best of who I am.”
1Excerpt is from Prayers to an Evolutionary God Ó 2004 by William Cleary, Afterword by Diarmuid O’Murchu. Permission granted by SkyLight Paths Publishing, www.skylightpaths.com.