In eighth-grade Margaret Roozen decided to write about entering the convent for a class assignment.
“I found out what life in the convent was like,” Roozen explained. “It planted a seed in me. As I got into high school I started meeting boys and I learned I was way out of my league. I always had a desire to minister or serve. When I was a junior in high school, I decided this is what I want to do with my life.”
A celebration will be held Sunday, June 10, in honor of Sister Margaret Roozen’s 50 years as a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
The celebration will take place at 11 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church in Cambridge. It will begin with the liturgy of the Word led by Deacon Gene Kramer and music by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. A reception and luncheon will immediately follow the service in the parish hall.
Roozen, who attended a parochial school in Mankato, knew the Sisters as teachers.
“I was mesmerized by their lifestyle,” Roozen said. “I didn’t grow up in a real religious home, I just had a desire to serve. I cried all the way as my dad drove me to the convent. He said I didn’t have to do this, but I told him I wanted to.”
Roozen took her vows on poverty, chastity and obedience in 1962.
“I really felt called, and in my 50 years I’ve never once doubted my choice,” Roozen said. “Being a nun is really a spiritual journey and you respond to the needs of the world.”
Roozen earned her college degree in education, and taught in parochial schools, first in Forsyth, Mont., and then in Minnesota. She served as a teacher in Forest Lake, and principal and teacher in Comfrey and Rogers.
She eventually left the parochial school system to become an assistant director of day care and also did foster care.
In 1995, Roozen, together with Sister Francette Malecha, opened Li’l Farm Children’s Home in Cambridge. Li’l Farm, a crisis foster home for children, gives a temporary home to children who need a welcome and loving environment.
“Sometimes the kids come out here and ask how I learned to garden or how I learned to take care of the animals,” Roozen said. “Well I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions. There is so much wisdom out there, and every person has a special gift. It’s amazing what people know that can help you in your life.”
The community has supported Li’l Farm.
“I’m amazed we have been able to establish Li’l Farm,” Roozen said. “We were able to do it because the entire community responded to us. The people of Cambridge have really taken ownership of Li’l Farm. We have a lot of volunteers who help us run Li’l Farm and we have had great financial support. The place really operates on donations and volunteers. The people have been good to us.”
Roozen learns something from everyone she meets.
“My focus has always been serving, and I feel bad if I always don’t do it cheerfully,” Roozen said. “I feel great joy as I see what happens to those around me. I see people grow and develop because of my contact with them and I also learn so much from other people.”
Roozen feels all women should at least discern entering the convent.
“You can look at it as a way of life for you, and you can go into it and think about it,” Roozen said. “Being a nun means possessions are not the center of our lives. I don’t work to buy a new car or a million dollar home. It’s really about the simplicity of living. If you enter the convent, you are giving up a lot of your lifestyle, and you have to have some sort of relationship with God to do that. Every woman needs to discern where their gifts fit for them. Being a nun fit for me. If you are a woman interested in becoming a nun, I encourage you to meet with the Sisters and learn more about it.”
Over the years, Roozen has written down phrases she hears or reads that have special meaning to her.
“May you gather your dreams and let your spirit guide you,” and “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” are two phrases Roozen circled on her sheet of paper filled with special sayings.
Roozen has leaned on the support of God, as well as friends and family.
“I’ve done all the things I’ve done in my life because I have felt called to do so,” Roozen said. “It’s really been God acting in my life and I couldn’t have done this without the grace of God and the support of the people around me. The School Sisters of Notre Dame have always followed the changes of the world and have tried to respond to the needs of today. I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect over the past year and I’ve been blessed with many friends.”