A Friendship, a Separation, and a 50-year Search

In 1972, Patricia Koval received a phone call from a friend — a religious sister — with whom she had taught. Sister Eucharista told Patti she was going to join a cloistered monastery. But she wouldn't say where or which order. Patti searched for her friend for almost five decades.

Patti reached out to me in October of 2017. She wrote, "Dear Ms. Reese: I am thanking you for writing DEDICATED TO GOD, for a very specific reason." Patti shared a bit of her friendship and her search, then closed: "Amazing that it took this many years to locate her, and more amazing that you chose her as one of the storytellers.  I thought you'd be interested to see how your research has helped me in my search for my dear friend."

We emailed several times before deciding to meet so that she could share the story of her friendship, the decades of separation, and the conclusion of her search.

In the past 13 years, I've learned about the lives of cloistered nuns and women considering entering a cloister; I've heard about the unique demands of cloistered life and the predicament for loved ones when a daughter or sister or friend joins a cloister. But I hadn't heard a story quite like Patti's. I'm sharing her story here, along with my interviews and photographs.

 

Abbie ReeseComment