“We are best friends, even when we are separated,” Sister Elizabeth Ann said. “The conversion experience allowed me to change paths because I let God use the gifts I have.”
Despite the fact that she has been Sister Elizabeth Ann for several years, sometimes Dr. O’Reilly uses her given name –– Carey –– although she quickly corrects herself in the same sentence. Sister Elizabeth Ann realizes old habits die hard –– especially since they’ve been together since before they were born.
Dr. O’Reilly feels blessed to have her sister as a spiritual role model.
“There was a period when I questioned my faith and didn’t go to Mass,” said Dr. O’Reilly. “But her faith is rock solid.”
Their faith was tested as their parents divorced when they were 16. Their brothers were 18 and 12. The two brothers drifted apart after leaving home but have recently become close to their sisters.
“My sister’s faith was incredible,” said Dr. O’Reilly. “Because of the strength of her faith, my faith was strengthened and it continues to grow.”
Sister Elizabeth Ann said she knows she can count on her sister for support and to always be there for her the way the sisters in her religious community are. She greatly admires her sister’s dedication to her vocation as a wife, mother and doctor.
“She gets up very early but is always so joyous in the sacrifices she makes for the people she loves,” said Sister Elizabeth Ann. “The love for her spouse and child makes me want to love Christ more and sacrifice joyfully.”
Sister Elizabeth Ann said her sister is also a good role model.
“One time I was watching Theresa all day and it was time for vespers,” Sister Elizabeth said. “I was tired and didn’t feel like it. But I remembered how my sister gives the sacrifice of time and I thought, ‘I want to be like that.’ It’s very concrete.”
“Except it doesn’t feel like sacrifice,” noted Dr. O’Reilly. “It’s a gift.”
(Story continues below)
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The foundation for both women is God. Dr. O’Reilly likes working at a Catholic hospital because she can attend daily Mass and take time during the day for prayer in the chapel. She also has benefited from her sister’s wisdom, which comes from her deep spirituality.
“There are troubled times in life when only a sibling can understand,” Dr. O’Reilly said. “She’s very wise. It comes from prayer and faith. Any time I come to her with an issue she gives me the wisest advice.”
Sister Elizabeth Ann said her sibling supports her through prayer and by simply living her vocation.
“She’s a faithful reminder that in those moments when I’m tired, my sister is busy being a doctor, wife and mother,” said Sister Elizabeth Ann. “It makes it easier for me give of myself to my vocation.”
Printed with permission from the Catholic Spirit, newspaper for the Diocese of Austin, Texas.