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| 9/1/2009 12:00:00 AM

For a shy Colombian nun, caring for the elderly is the only honor she needs

Sept 01-- She arrived in a place called Dallas as another summer was setting in. She was a stranger in a flat, hot land – uprooted from her native Colombia.

"They told me, 'Get ready, you are going to Dallas.' I asked where was that," says Sister Adelaide Bocanegra, recalling the superiors who sent her into the world to help some old folks in some faraway home. "I said, 'I don't speak English.' They said, 'You will learn.' "

Half a century later, the physical, emotional and spiritual care of seniors continues at St. Joseph's Residence in Oak Cliff.

And gently guiding the operation is the tireless, ever-present Sister Adelaide.

"They told me, 'Three years and you come back.' Now, here I am," she says with a playful smile and shrug.

She joined the Bethlemite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1955, after visiting a school run by the order. The decision angered her brother and disturbed her father, but "I figured that's where I needed to be. God was calling me."

Two years later, at age 20, she took her religious vows. And when Dallas Bishop Thomas Gorman asked the Bethlemite order to run the Catholic diocese's fledgling St. Joseph's home, Sister Adelaide was among the first sent to serve.

"I'd never seen so many old people," she says.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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