One of our Sisters would frequently tell me that God speaks to us through our personal salvation history. In other words, our whole past, present and future are the means God uses to speak His love and His will to us and to bring us closer to Himself. If the Sacred Scriptures tell us the love story between God and humankind, then our past becomes a part of God’s personal love story with us.
My story led me to desire a deeper relationship with God when I was in my early teens. I had been baptized and raised Catholic, but had never been driven to have a more personal relationship with God. It was in those teen years that I began to read the writings of St Teresa of Avila, St Therese of Lisieux and St Josemaria Eschriva. Reading their writings fostered both a love for God as my Father and a desire to live each moment as His daughter. I remembered what my mom had taught me growing up, about how God created each of us to reveal Him to the world in a special way. His love had to shine through me, and the more that I let His love shine through, the more I would grow in holiness and become a saint. Since I was a junior in high school and I wanted to know what I was supposed to do with my life, my mission became discovering God’s overall plan for my life and to follow it to the best of my abilities. Where my abilities were lacking, I decided to just ask God for help. Surely He wouldn’t refuse His grace if I constantly asked Him for it? So that became my prayer and I earnestly set out researching and exploring any avenue that might fit my gifts and personality and allow me to become the saint God created me to be.
Looking back, I don’t recommend that search method, because it wasn’t until I sat back, relaxed and let God remind me that it was His plan, that I actually got a hint of what that vocation was. It took until the beginning of my senior year in high school that I returned my focus to my relationship with Him and on my prayer life, the thought of becoming a bride of Christ as a religious Sister came to mind. However, it wasn’t the fanciful desire to be married to God and queen of the universe that was present when I was a little girl reading about the saints. This time, the desire was real. In prayer, I desperately wanted God’s will, and God wanted me to be a Sister. I was overjoyed. I wanted to be a Sister! I would be dedicating my whole heart, body and soul to Christ. My life would no longer be my own as I had lived it before, because I would make my vows to Him. I would let Him take my hand and lead me to where and to whom He pleased, to give His love the way He created me to give it. To share with the world the joy of knowing Christ’s love.
Almost immediately I jumped on my laptop and started looking at communities. I downloaded and read Vita Consecrata on my iPod any spare moment I could. Then it began to dawn on me. That sense of fear when you realize that what you need to do, what you actually want to do, is going to be hard and involve a lot of change. Not just the change that leads me from my family and friends, the life I had lived up until that point, but also a deep, personal change. I knew what the life changes would be. But what would happen after I entered, I had no idea. That’s when fear started to creep in. I turned again to Scripture and spiritual reading for help. I prayed that if becoming a religious Sister was truly God’s will that He would increase my desire to become a Sister, lessen the fear and let me trust in Him. That prayer was answered quickly, as every time I prayed it, my desire to be a Sister grew.
Now my two questions turned into, when and where was I supposed to become a Sister? I was looking at communities online and knew myself well enough to know that it would be hard to find the community that I was supposed to enter and then have to wait to enter there. I wanted to follow Christ in my vocation like the disciples dropped their nets and followed Him immediately. Soon I realized that the community He was calling me to was the one sitting right under my nose, the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, at whose college I was taking classes. After reading through their website, I fell in love with the life and charism of Mother Maria Theresia and found in her a love for Christ in the Eucharist and in children that was similar to my own. Here in her community is where I have found my home, where God created me to love and adore Him and to share His love with those around me.Sister Lucia, Temporary Vows