The following is from a Feb. 14 story by OC Catholic. 

Last month, four Norbertine sisters joined the faculty at St. John the Baptist School in Costa Mesa. The founding nuns of the Congregation of the Norbertine Sisters are from Slovakia. Since arriving in 2011, they have been blessed with many vocations. One of these vocations is the education and faith formation of Catholic youth, and the sisters plan to continue this ministry. 

“We are really happy to be here. We arrived two weeks ago and everybody has been very welcoming – the parents, the children. Everybody has been anticipating our arrival and has been very welcoming, so we are so excited to start,” one of the new arrivals, Sr. Gemma, said. 

“We were very kindly invited here by Father Augustine,” she continued. “Initially there were three orders who were thinking about coming, but the Church decided that since it is a Norbertine staff, it is probably best if the fathers and sisters are both Norbertine because we share the same charisms. So because our convent was full in Wilmington, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to branch out and to come to this convent.” 

Principal Paula Viles agrees that the timing of their arrival is perfect. “We have been waiting for a very long time for the sisters to be in the convent again and everyone is very, very excited…”

Each of the sisters offer different skills to the community. Sr. Gemma attended St. John the Baptist School and is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. She has experience teaching catechism, kindergarten and subbing for first through fifth grade.

Before learning English and traveling to America eight years ago, Sr. Adriana Gacikova was a registered nurse in Slovakia. Now, she is the superior and teaches second grade religion to help prepare the children for their First Communion.

“I am also very excited,” said Fr. Augustine Puchner. “In addition to the work and ministry that the sisters will do at the school, we are just very happy for their life here in our community and the prayer that they offer every day…”