Vocation Stories


Sr. Catherine Sitja y Balbastro, IHM

Sr Katie Balbastro- LovieI was born and raised in Argentina. If someone have ever told me that I was going to enter a religious congregation in the USA I would have never believed it. In my twenties I started what I call my journey in search of God. Of course at that time I did not know that my search was for God. It took me many years until I was ready to listen to God's call. My journey started with my travel to England, Oxford, then to Madrid, Spain, and back again to London, England, where I finished my studies in a British/American University with a degree in Political Science and a specialization in International Relations. Additionally, I had 3 years of study in law from my own country. It was clear that my studies, though absolutely fascinating, were secondary to the joy I felt at befriending so many different people from all over the world. I was absolutely fascinated by the diversity and the richness of cultures and people and religion. I would spend hours with a good friend of mine who was Muslim and we would talk about God, prayer, and our beliefs.

After finishing my studies I went back to Argentina to find myself, again, searching. This time my search took me to Canada where I immigrated and become a Canadian citizen. I thought I finally got it! I had a job I very much enjoyed, new friends, my own place, and a stable and secure life. To my surprise it was in that calm and comfortable environment that God, by surprise, decided to shake my entire life. I attended what I thought was an Advent retreat weekend that turned out to be a weekend retreat for women discerning religious life. God is great joker! It was during that retreat that God's kindness, gentleness, and love opened my heart to the possibility of religious life. God's call was so enticing and so attractive that I could not resisted. I felt something that have never felt before and that change my life. Yes, the fear and the doubt were there but love and courage overtook the fear and doubt. Now my search of God was taking a different route. Now a new journey began that took me to the IHM Sisters of Scranton, PA.

It is said that there is nothing impossible for God. Well, my journey with the IHM Sisters started through the Internet. Yes, God also uses modern means to communicate with us. My initial contact with the sisters was through their webpage where I read all about them. Their commitment and support to women, their joy and their willingness to bring the unconditional love of God to everyone--touched my heart. I moved to Scranton to enter the IHM Congregation and since them I have no regrets, only praises of thanksgiving. Yes the journey is not easy, I did and do have my challenges but also plenty of blessings and joys along the way.

We all need a meaning for our lives, and for me is God's unconditional love.

Sister Katie presently serves as an Intake/Life Skills Coordinator for Hour Children in Long Island City, NY.

Amanda DelValle-Katie Balbastro                   

Pictured L - R: Sisters Amanda Del Valle and Katie           


   Sister Katie at her home in Long Island City, NY.