My News of Great Joy!
Dear friends and visitors,
I know I have been pretty quiet online for some time, do forgive me, I think I have good reason for it! After many months of discernment, and much consideration in prayer, if God so wills it I will be entering the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 11th of this year!
The Benedictines of Mary is the same beautiful community that I went down to visit and make a retreat with last Thanksgiving, as some of you may recall. During that wonderful time of seclusion and reflection, I can now say that I know why no one could ever "explain" to me what it means to know what a vocation is before. Now I am the one who is unable to fully "explain" it to anyone else! Suffice it to say that from the first moment I arrived at the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus, I felt completely at peace. "Felt" is actually a misnomer, because it was more than just a feeling - it is that inexplicable sense of belonging, or perhaps of fitting-ness. Like a glove. And now I, the bubbly, zealous, active, organizing, networking and globetrotting Mary, desire nothing more than to follow my Lord, at the side of Our Lady, into a quiet, cloistered, sewing, farming community in Missouri for the rest of my days, if He so wills it. God is so good!
Pretty much everyone I have spoken to about this discernment has asked "How do you know?" All I can say is, during my time there, I truly heard the call of Christ to come before Him, asking me to return all that I am, and all that I have been given, to Him as a free gift and loving sacrifice, or to choose to return to the blessed life I have been leading. My heart leapt, and with both solemnity and joy I said "yes!" More than that, I now realize that while I have spent my life seeking Christ, and being "about" Him in most of what I have done these past few years, there, in the cloistered life, is where I am to live with Christ; to know Him and love Him, by learning how to love through my community life with my Sisters (the convent is, as Mother said to me, a true "school of charity"!) and thus to be united with Him in a unique way and to bear fruit for the whole Church. I have to admit that as of now I've had a lot more time to truly consider the "consequences", you might say, of a fiat to Christ in a cloistered life -- but with that further discernment, the knowing and certitude has not diminished, but has been kept strongly in my heart and mind. I know not what the future holds, or the way the path will turn or slope, but I do know that I must heed the call now, without delay!
As you might imagine, the months since my Thanksgiving retreat and my acceptance into the community have been incredibly busy, but by the grace of God things seem to be falling into place. There is, however, one major obstacle remaining to my planned entrance on June 11th -- my educational debt. No aspirant can enter religious life with any outstanding debt, and so I am working with the Laboure Society (located right here in Eagan MN!) to resolve the remainder of my student loan debt. If you are able to assist me in this, follow the link to the Laboure Society for more information, and if you decide you would like to help me financially please send it to them, referencing "VS blog 2/8" for tracking purposes. And, thank you!
Your prayers are even more important to me, however - I am asking the Lord for the special intention that in this continuing discernment both I and the community, in particular Mother Prioress, will be given the grace of understanding of the Lord's will, and the courage to follow it wholeheartedly. Your prayers for this are gratefully appreciated as well, and thank you with all my heart for all of your support in so many ways that we cannot even know in this life!
A further note for any clergy, including seminarians, reading this: in keeping with our name, our charism is to live our life of sacrifice intentionally for the sanctification of the priesthood. Our primary means of supporting ourselves is through the sewing of vestments, and in keeping with the Benedictine tradition of hospitality, we offer a place of retreat for the clergy. Feel free to send me your ordination card, or name via e-mail perhaps, if you would like me to pray for your vocation.
Dio vi benedicite!