The seeds of my vocation were planted when I was very young. In first grade, my teacher was a Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. I remember how much I loved Sr. Kathleen and wanted to be a “Franciscan teaching nun” just like her. From first grade through the beginning of high school, I believed I was called to religious life. In high school, I pushed the thoughts of a religious vocation to the back of my mind—partly because I was made fun of for it, and partly because it didn’t fit with my plans for my life. I wanted to be married, raise a family, travel, have an interesting job, etc.
In spite of my best efforts to ignore God’s will in my life, He still patiently kept calling me. The thought of religious life never went away completely. Throughout high school, college, graduate school, when I started working, and even during a period when I was not practicing my faith, the thought would creep into my mind, and I would keep pushing it away. I would tell myself I wasn’t good enough or holy enough for religious life, and that it was something I wanted to do when I was little but not anymore.
During all those years, I did many of the things I thought were what I wanted in my life. I traveled, lived overseas for four years and held jobs I would have always considered dream jobs. But I always felt unsettled, restless, and as if something were missing in my life.
While I was living and working in Vienna, Austria, I stopped practicing my faith. During my last year there, I lost both of my parents to cancer within eleven months of each other. It was during this painful time I realized how empty my life was without God, and He drew me back to the Faith and the Sacraments. I not only came back to the Church, but I also sought to deepen my faith. Again the thought of religious life came back. But this time instead of pushing it away, I tried to discern why it would not go away. Through much prayer and discernment and with the guidance of my parish priest, I realized God was calling me to give myself totally to Him and the Church as a religious sister with the very Sisters who first planted the seeds of a religious vocation in me.
I am now a junior Sister in temporary vows. I realize daily my vocation is a gift from God, and I need to embrace this gift and follow wherever He leads. I desire to give myself to Him totally in love and through this to serve all those He places before me.Sister Petra, Perpetual Vows