I grew up in a Catholic family at a vibrant parish in Carmel, a suburb of Indianapolis. I was blessed to attend Catholic schools from Kindergarten through College and there were sisters present in each of my schools. I was open to religious life, but never felt that the timing was right. In college, I discerned that I could best use the talents that God gave me as an accounting major. I landed an awesome job at a Big 4 accounting firm in September of my senior year of college. I specifically remember telling myself that I no longer had to worry if God was calling me to religious life since I had found his will for me in my career. I’m sure He had quite the laugh at that!
After graduation, I began my job in Indianapolis and loved the work that I was doing. I lived with a friend from high school in an apartment in a fun part of the city. I was involved in my parish as a religious education catechist and went to Mass on Sundays and had a holy hour in my parish’s perpetual adoration chapel. Since everything else in my life was going well, I started praying more seriously about my vocation. As I prayed, I began to feel God calling me to attend daily Mass. I can’t explain it, but there was something about that calling that was so strong that I was convinced that it was God’s will for me. But I hated getting up early and Mass before work seemed to be the only time that would work in my schedule. So I made it to Mass once a week or so when I left work early enough for evening Mass or managed to avoid pressing the snooze button when the alarm clock went off in the morning. I knew that I was avoiding God’s will, but I had so much fear that if I started attending daily Mass, God would call me out of my comfort zone in a radical way. About 9 months after I started feeling this intense call to Mass, I took a sabbatical from my job to study more intensely for the CPA exam. I was out of excuses with my schedule so I gave in and started going to daily Mass. Through Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, I started getting this strange feeling that God was calling me to religious life. I have never been so terrified.
Right about this time, I failed part of the CPA exam and felt so discouraged. I was so invested in my career that I couldn’t imagine what would become of me if I could not obtain this certification. I continued studying, working, and discerning in secret for months. I thought this was a phase and the attraction to religious life would fade out, but in fact, it continued to intensity. Finally I told my family that I was pretty positive that God was calling me to religious life. Things started to move very quickly. It seemed like in every way, God was asking me to give up control of my plans and to rely totally on Him. I made my first visit to our community the day that I took the CPA exam for the last time before I would be passed up for a promotion at work. Our vocation director assured me of the prayers of the sisters. A few weeks later, I found out that I passed the exam. In some ways I was ecstatic, but my future and my dignity no longer hinged on being a CPA. It seemed that God was asking me to trust Him and when I finally began to surrender to His will He gave me an option of whether I was going to continue focusing on my career or do His will. By now, I knew that my heart’s deepest desire could only be satisfied by giving myself totally to Him as a sister.
As I discerned where God was calling me, I met with a spiritual director and kept in frequent contact with two communities. God made it clear that perpetual adoration would be an important part of my religious life. In our community, I not only found perpetual adoration, but also joyful women who were deeply committed to prayer and living for Christ. God was always there in my uncertainty and it was only through grace that I was able to respond to His invitation to serve Christ and His Church as a Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration.Sister Karol Ann, Temporary Vows