Vocation Stories


Sr. Denise Montagne, IHM

Story of My Vocation with the IHMs in Scranton, PA

My story in this congregation starts with the words expressed by Sister Ruth Harkins and Sister Mary Jo Gallagher towards the end of my interview with them on January 2, 2005, "It is a long Journey back Home." That is how I felt and continue feeling since the first time I put my feet on these grounds, grounds that connect me with my inner being, a heart shaped with the spirituality of the IHM, a heart that has the IHM initials carved with love and joy. Sharing with Ruth and Mary Jo in an atmosphere of deep trust and solemn silence as they listened to what I shared from my own personal story of my past years away from religious life.

Following that interview, the next morning I shared with Sister Mary Persico. This sharing really marked the turning point for what I call a beautiful invitation to be a Scranton IHM. This poem I wrote expresses what I see in this community's leadership:

In All Simplicity, LeadershipDeniseMontagneFinalProfession10-2016

She said, "Yes, Lord," squeezing God's love for me
With nature's pure capacity of service;
Serving God's love with pure openness,
Embracing my brokenness, making it whole.

She made it all anew with pure simplicity,
Inviting me to serve the same way, with no questions.
Loving my being while I shared,
She shared God's love for me in all simplicity.
In my heart I said, "Yes, Lord."                                                                                      

The moment I surrendered to my deepest desire, I felt the deepest peace and joy in my being. It was clear in my heart that my vocation is to the Scranton IHM. Having had experienced religious life as a Philadelphia IHM for almost a decade (1984 - 1994), all my experiences that led me to the decision to leave this special life and the nine years that followed as a teacher in Peru, I consider these years were years of growth.

I am a graduate of Villa Maria Academy (1978-Peru), with a BA degree in pedagogical studies from Immaculata College, PA (1987), and a Master's degree in education, with a concentration on assessing parents in the education of their children (2004 - Univ. Complutence Madrid, site Lima -Peru).

I worked as a lay teacher in a Catholic school for boys, Santa Maria Marianistas from 1996 – 2006 and served there as a homeroom teacher, and also taught English and religion. I was the eighth grade pastoral counselor.

While living and working in Lima, I met with and shared with the Scranton IHM Sisters my desire to come to the community. I entered the IHM Congregation on February 20, 2006.

As a candidate, I volunteered at Nativity of Our Lord Parish. My work includes creating the Church bulletin for the Latino parishioners and preparing a group to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. I am also a trained tutor for SCOLA and I am presently teach ESL twice a week.

Denise Montagne - HCross Students - FOP dinner 16

Pictured above, Sister Denise and Holy Cross students at the Friends of the Poor Thanksgiving Dinner in Scranton, PA, Nov. 2016.

I have attended the spiritual formation updating on Alphonsian Spirituality, studied the vow of obedience and received spiritual guidance. I have participated in all the community gatherings and celebrations.

This time as a candidate has provided me with the chance to meet many sisters in the congregation. I have learned more about the community's concerns, made new friends, and deepened my relationship with God.

Sister Denise is currently serving as a Spanish teacher at Holy Cross High School in Dunmore, PA.

Denise Montagne - HCross Students
Pictured above, Sister Denise and her students at Holy Cross High School in Dunmore, PA