Sister Laura Coughlin
Sister Laura Coughlin is one of thirteen Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill to have entered the Congregation from the Southwest. In 2008, she returned to Arizona and began ministry at Salpointe High School teaching social studies. She is one of four Sisters of Charity serving in the Diocese of Tucson.
Prior to 2008, Sister Laura ministered for eight years at Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The Technology Coordinator, she taught both computer and social studies classes at Seton-LaSalle. Additionally, she served as the the Ski Club moderator.
“To me, being a Sister of Charity means that I express my love for Jesus Christ in a direct manner through the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. More importantly, the vows are a reminder that he has chosen me for something both special and sacred. Since God’s love is unique for each one of us, not only has God called me, but he has called me to be HERE with this particular order. So my individual calling is meant to be a blessing to the Congregation, and the Congregation, with its many beautiful sisters, is meant to be a blessing to me,” said Sister Laura.
Sister Laura was 28 years old when the seed of her vocation was planted on the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation in Arizona. She was working as a lay volunteer with two Dominican sisters.
“The experience of community life coupled with a satisfying ministry felt right to me, although I did not act on this feeling immediately and returned to paid employment in Phoenix when the volunteer year came to a close,” said Sister Laura.
Three years later, Sister Laura was introduced to Sister Mary Clark, then vocation director for the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.
“As it turned out, there were eight Sisters of Charity living at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent in Scottsdale, quite close to where I was living in an apartment. I was introduced to this local community, and started to join them occasionally for meals and prayer. I felt that the sisters shared a spirit that was right for our times. They were joyful, practical, prayerful, hard-working, and lived out of a deep desire to serve God. I also felt that in many practical ways we-the sisters and I-were like each other,” said Sister Laura.
As a result of Sister Laura’s call, she lives in a community with six other sisters. She attends Mass daily and endeavors to nurture her prayer life primarily through the reading of Scripture and devotion to Eucharistic adoration, as well as through other means. Teaching is a new career path for her since entering religious life.
“The charism of Charity affects my ministry because of the type of presence that a religious sister has in a school, particularly in this case, because the Sisters of Charity are the sponsoring congregation for Seton-LaSalle. I feel that our charism allows us to be present to both students and faculty in a special way that carries a history of service,” said Sister Laura.