I was born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana. I went to Sts. Joan of Arc and Patrick school from pre-K to the 8th grade and then transferred to a public high school. All throughout grade school I always wondered why we had to attend Mass every Monday and Friday, especially since I went every Sunday with my family. My parents always made sure we were at Mass on Sunday, but this is all our faith consisted of. We were never involved with things of the Parish. I never understood that Christ was truly present in the Eucharist and that the purpose of Mass was to receive Him.
During my freshman year of high school this all changed. I was preparing for Confirmation and I had to attend at least one retreat. I chose to go to Destination Jesus, a retreat based in Carmel, Indiana. At this retreat there were 800 other high school students all excited to be there and on fire with their Faith. I remember thinking, “Just get through the retreat then you can go home and forget all about it”. I was wrong, it would end up being a memory that has stuck with me and one that I will never forget. One evening, all of the retreatants were kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament on a hard gym floor. It finally hit me...Christ was there with us! In that moment was the first time I prayed and was actually talking to God. I prayed, “Lord, you must really love all of us if you left us your Body and Blood and want to be a part of my life...” I realized the love God had for me and I felt this strong desire to give my whole life over to Him who gave us His life on the Cross.
At the time I did not understand what giving my life to the Lord really meant nor did I realize that he would call me to the Religious Life. When the first thought of religious life came to mind I became very scared. I thought there was no way the Lord could call me to a life of following Him as His bride because I did not deserve it. When I finally opened up and told a friend that the Lord might be calling me to religious life, she was totally supportive and invited me to come with her to a retreat here at our Motherhouse. My first response was, “NO WAY…” She was very persistent with me and I finally gave in. I came with her for a weekend “Come and See”. When it came time to leave my mom came to pick both of us up. I got into the back seat and began to cry as we drove down the drive. A still small voice inside of me told me that this is where I would spend the rest of my life.
All through high school I kept visiting the Sisters and taking advantage of every opportunity to come visit the Motherhouse. High school graduation came and I felt ready to enter the convent, since I had visited so many times. But I felt the Lord was telling me to wait at least one year. So I did and attended Indiana University Kokomo one year before entering. I entered in September 2010 as a postulant, received the habit on August 10, 2011 and made first vows on August 10, 2013.
Several changes happen when we receive the habit, one being a new name. I chose Sister Mary Grace because I have a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother. I wanted the name Grace because Mary, full of grace, is the one I wish to imitate in my life as a Religious Sister.Sister Mary Grace, Temporary Vows