Sister Michelle Gorman, RSM:  A Gift for Spiritual Direction

The halls of the California State Senate can become quite heated at times; however, in the midst of debating political parties and lobbying groups, Sister Michelle Gorman, RSM, aims to be a voice of unity and peace. Sister Michelle serves the State Senate as the Senate Chaplain, a role she assumed in January, 2015.

Helping others find their spiritual path has been a common thread throughout Sister Michelle’s life. Born in County Mayo, Ireland, she came to California in 1971 to join the Sisters of Mercy in Auburn. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and French and received her teaching credential from California State University, Sacramento. She enjoyed teaching, spending many years in Sacramento area schools, including Holy Spirit Elementary School, Bishop Manogue High School and Christian Brothers High School.

In 1995, Sister Michelle’s religious community invited her to assume the role of ministry of vocation minister, working with women discerning a call to religious life. “I really enjoyed meeting those women and being a witness to their discernment,” says Sister Michelle.

Sister Michelle served in an elected leadership role within the Auburn Regional Community from 2004 through 2008. In 2008, the Auburn Regional Community and 5 other Regional Communities merged to become the West Midwest Community. Sister Michelle was elected to the leadership team of this broader community and served in that capacity until 2013.

In addition to currently serving as Senate Chaplain, Sister Michelle also serves in both spiritual direction and retreat work at Mercy Center Auburn, as a member of the Spirituality Team for the Deaconate Formation Program, and as a Corporate Member of Mercy Foundation and Cristo Rey High School Sacramento. “I very much enjoy working with others on their spirituality – it is why I entered religious life to begin with,” Sister Michelle says. “Listening to another person describing how God is working in their life is unlike traditional therapy or even pastoral counseling. You don’t try to find solutions or try to fix things, you just listen with reverence and respect to the unique experience of each person with their God as they deepen that relationship.  It is very sacred work.”