CSJ SisterStory Project
Interview with Sandra Straub


Interview with Sandra Straub


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Sister Sandra Straub talks with Amy Koncar about challenges in religious life, discerning your own call, and mariachi with the Bishop.



Length of Interview


Date of Interview

Spring 2015

Document Type

Oral History

Digital Format

1 MP3 (92.1 MB)

Digital Publisher

Fontbonne University Archives


St. Louis, MO


History of Religion | Oral History | United States History | Women's History

Additional Notes

Amy Koncar, a sophomore at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri, continues studying for a future career as a Speech and Language Pathologist with a minor in Religious Studies. In the midst of Amy’s busy schedule, playing the piano often serves as a relaxing hobby. As a member of the Campus Ministry Leadership Team and Vice President of Fontbonne Students for life, Amy tries to surround herself with opportunities to help other people and make a difference. Similarly, she also enjoys volunteering her time, for example, by giving tours as a Student Ambassador and working closely with Camp Kesem Saint Louis University.

It is not every day that my class assignment requires me to meet with a Catholic Sister and learn about her life. I wish this was the case because I believe Sisters have a lot to share with others about life, especially young adults. I see this project as an opportunity to grow in my own spirituality by forming a new relationship with a woman who lives her life completely dedicated to God. Nuns have always been a part of my life, yet I have always wondered why they chose this path and what it entails. They have always been role models for me and I hope to gain more insight into the highs and lows of their lives. I have been raised in a Catholic environment which has nurtured my faith to grow stronger throughout the years. The Catholic faith is very important to me, and my love for it has grown immensely, especially after moving to college. Having the freedom to make a personal decision to continue practicing my faith has given me more ownership of my beliefs. After twelve years of Catholic education and being surrounded by a faith-filled family, the practices of the Catholic Church were just always a part of life. I did not, and still do not, understand many of the Church’s teachings and practices because I never really questioned or wondered why in my faith. However, now that I have more ownership over my faith life, my curiosity and wonder about religion has increased. To help me grow, I have made my own decision to surround myself with people who help me grow spiritually, I continue to participate in the sacraments for me, not because people make me, and I added a religious studies minor to expand my knowledge of the Catholic faith as well as all other religions. I try to be a religious person, but I will be the first to admit that I often struggle. It is hard to put all your trust in God, especially because of the intangible quality of faith. Through all of the ups and downs, I continue to turn to God because He gives me comfort and strength. I struggle most with remembering life is not about owning expensive items or having the most fun, but rather being happy living life with and for God. I think this opportunity to participate in the Sisters Project will help me learn a lot about God, Sisters, and myself.

* * *

I have had the incredible opportunity to hear firsthand stories and thoughts from Sr. Sandra, CSJ. All of our meetings encompass advice, stories, beliefs, jokes, and laughter, with the recording of the oral history being no exception. While speaking with Sr. Sandra, I can see joy and passion radiate from her smile. It is utterly amazing how much one woman has accomplished through her numerous ministries.

Before meeting with Sr. Sandra, I had the notion that entering religious life limits a person’s options and possibilities in life, but through our conversations, I have been shown this is not the case. She has clearly exemplified and conveyed that other vocations would not have allowed her to serve in all the ways she has. As Sr. Sandra shared in her oral history, religious life allows women to dedicate their lives to God and serving others. Of course, other vocations allow for God and service, but not to the same extent. As a part of a religious community, religious women have support in their education, careers, and missionary work that single and married women do not usually have. Also, these women are free to pick up and move without abandoning anyone. Sr. Sandra has received high levels of education and done service in so many places: St. Louis, MO, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Texas, Peru, and Southern Missouri. Without meeting with Sr. Sandra and having the opportunity to hear all of her stories, I would have never guessed she has served and impacted so many communities. As she told me stories, she shared some of the challenges, but she would always have even more good memories, benefits, and experiences. Along with the many opportunities, Sr. Sandra explained that the big challenge of religious life is having the courage to say yes to the new and challenging offers.

I am in awe at Sr. Sandra’s incredible dedication to religious life. She explained discernment is a life-long process; every day you have to make the choice to stay faithful, and through new, challenging times that can be difficult. I can undoubtedly recognize God’s love and wisdom in Sr. Sandra with the joy she has of her choice to continue to say yes to each God’s calls, no matter how scary or challenging.

Copyright Note

These oral histories are made available by Fontbonne University for research, educational, scholarly, and/or creative purposes only. All uses should adhere to the principle of fair use established under Section 107 of Title 17 the 1976 Copyright Act. More on fair use is available here: https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/.

Interview with Sandra Straub



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In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.