“And Mary said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)
Growing up I had never been around religious sisters as my entire education was in the public schools, and it was not until I was an undergraduate in college that one day while walking to class I happened to turn around, and there behind me was a Daughter of St. Paul. I remember how seeing that sister in her blue habit brought a smile to my face that day while I thought to myself, “What are the odds on a public college campus there would be a religious sister”? That is the first time that I remember ever encountering a religious sister in a habit.
The thought of becoming a nun never entered my mind until I was a young adult and met a seminarian who was joyful and zealous about his vocation to the priesthood. I recall sitting with one of my friends at dinner one evening and admitting to her that seeing this seminarian preparing for his upcoming ordination inspired me to begin thinking about my own vocation, and I said, “I think I want to be a nun”. I was fearful at such a thought and pushed it right out of my mind almost immediately after the words left my lips. Where would such a thought come from, me a nun? How could I just go and leave everything behind when I was a year away from graduating from college and becoming a teacher?
Fast forward after several years of teaching, and having the experience of a lifetime in my dream career I started to think about becoming a religious sister again, and a gentle nudge to consider the convent came back to me. I finally felt that I had reached a point on my journey that I could be open to God’s plan for my life. I loved my job, and I knew that I could go about living the rest of my life working and living a “normal life,” but I felt I wanted more in my life. And I was tired of trying to “fit” in with other young adults my own age when I had no desire to do the things that were of interest to them. When they would be planning to go to the bar or the club on a Friday night, I preferred to attend the next Catholic young adult Mass or social event.
I had no desire for the things of the world as they simply did not satisfy me, and left me empty inside. My heart was on the things of Heaven and I came to feel deep down inside that it was only the Beloved Bridegroom that could captivate my heart in a way that no one else or anything ever could for me.
I had this burning desire to not only be happy in my life, but to have this deep feeling of being content, and ultimately living a life of complete and total satisfaction and fulfillment. There was a moment for me kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament after Mass one Sunday when God confirmed for me that I needed to be open to His will, and I felt content with such a feeling, although scared of what this meant for me, and how others would respond to this choice.
But I was overcome with this strong desire to want a more intimate relationship with Christ in a way that could only be between a consecrated religious sister and her Divine Spouse. I allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me and found such a deep sense of peace in having a call to religious life. I am also blessed to have received support and encouragement from the priests in my life, and through their vocation, I have been continuously inspired to fulfill my own vocation.
As I continue to discern religious life, I hope to one day be able to give back to our Archdiocese by my service to the Lord and the people of His Church as a Catholic religious sister. I desire a community, filled with joy and great love of the priesthood, that will enable me to actively serve the Mystical Body of Christ with the spirit of contemplation flowing out into the apostolate. There are so many Catholics, especially now in our Church who are suffering and feel lonely and abandoned, and they need to know how much God loves them. Especially our children, the most neglected and spiritually abandoned, who need us to help them to protect their innocence; the chastity of their little pure hearts, and teach them about our Catholic faith.
I pray that I will be able to become a beacon of light in the Church that can show people how much God loves them, and how he waits in the Tabernacle for them to visit Him. I want them to know He desires to give Himself to them in the Eucharist, and how much He longs for the day when they can spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
Please, pray for my discernment journey as I will be praying for all of you in the discernment of your vocations. See you in the Eucharist.