Sarah Nolan, 28, was a sophomore at the University of San Francisco at the turn of the millennium. She was a long way from her home in southern New Mexico and had already moved through progressive stages of personal change — from a fascination with science and wanting to be an engineer to interest in marketing to undecided — when she found her window to deeper faith and a life's work steeped in the church's social justice tradition.
Dominican Sr. Bernice Garcia was in the fourth grade when she knew she wanted to be a religious sister. Now 72, she has witnessed the trajectory of religious life through the latter part of the 20th century into the 21st and the concurrent changes in church life. She's currently parish administrator, effectively the pastor, of St. Francis Xavier Church in a poor neighborhood of Albuquerque, N.M. It is a ministry she could not have dreamed of doing as a young girl, nor for most of her long career with the Dominicans of Grand Rapids, Mich.