July 30, 2020

Fostering Vocations

The girls joined us for community prayers throughout their stay.

This month we had the joy of hosting a “Come & See” weekend for a few young ladies who have been discerning religious life and wanted to get to know our community. We loved hosting them and spending time with them. Throughout the weekend they had classes with various sisters to learn about religious life and our community in particular. They attended prayers with us and shared in some of the sisters’ duties – and lots of laughter! Please keep them in your prayers as they discern God’s call.

Sister Mary Faustina has been assisting with vocations work for the last couple years, and was asked to share her vocation story for our local Catholic newspaper. We wanted to share it with you, knowing that everyone loves to hear a vocation story!  They are such a great way of seeing how clearly God is at work in our lives, through all the ups and downs, using so many people to lead us to the place He has prepared, and the work He is asking us to accomplish for Him. May this story be an inspiration to you, to help you look for God’s hand in your own daily life.       

Sister Mary Faustina with her parents, Mother Louise Marie and Bishop Baker on the day of her final profession

     “I remember being woken up in the middle of the night, climbing into my shoes and stumbling out to the van to accompany my mom to her weekly Holy Hour at our parish’s little Adoration Chapel. I was about ten years old when she allowed me to begin to join her. Even though I spent most of the 3:00AM Holy Hour asleep in a small armchair, I am convinced that those times spent with Jesus in the Eucharist shaped my vocation story. There are many ways God communicated to me His invitation to belong only to Him in religious life: my Catholic up-bringing, my parish community, good friends, my family and so on. However, it was the Blessed Sacrament that had the biggest impact upon my vocation, and in a particular way, it was Eucharistic Adoration.

 

     “I first experienced a strong inclination to religious life before I even knew what it was. When I was about four years old, I began to desire to be like St. Therese; I wanted to belong to God like she did. That desire never left me throughout my  childhood but after I graduated high school, I began to really wrestle with the fact that all of sudden this could really happen. The natural longing for marriage and family began to grow and at the time it seemed to be competing with the deeper and more mysterious desire for religious life. Selfishness and fear pulled at my heart. “Would I really be happy giving up my family?” “Could I be fulfilled by giving up a husband and children of my own?” “Why is God asking me to give Him so much?” As I began to shrink back from the sacrifice of religious life I also began to shrink away from God. Whenever we pull back from Our Lord, we experience a sense of emptiness and loss. I found that I was becoming less happy and less fulfilled even though the world was telling me that blazing one’s own trail was the way to find happiness.

Eucharistic devotion is part of all our apostolic works. Last spring the Sisters led their catechesis students in a Eucharistic procession through the school grounds

“Thankfully, my spiritual director called me out on the mistake that I was making: I had put my own will before God’s will. I went on retreat with the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word and ended up with an application in hand. But the battle was not over. Even as I filled out the forms and mailed them to the sisters, I was begging God to spare me! Little did I know that He was not offering me a life of sadness but a gift of joy. Throughout this time, I was blessed to have maintained the practice of a weekly Holy Hour at St. Luke’s Adoration Chapel, my home parish in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Each Friday afternoon at 1:00 I would stumble into the chapel, perhaps looking pretty similar to my ten-year-old self who used to stumble in nine years before, except that now I was stumbling over my own selfishness and fear. Week after week, Our Eucharistic Lord listened as I poured out my misery to Him and each week, He showered His mercy on me. If it were not for that hour with Him each week, I would not have made it to July 14th, the day of my entrance. Finally, one Friday, as I was leaving the chapel after my Holy Hour, I came to understand that it was Jesus who I was rejecting when I fought against my vocation. It became a little clearer to me that when I begged Him “Don’t make me be a sister” that I was begging Him to take back a gift from God the Father.

     “I have been with the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word for nine years. My vocation is a gift which continually blows me away. I understand even better now that God was not pinning me down or boxing me in but rather, that He was holding me firmly and gently. There is no doubt in my mind that it was Our Lord in the Eucharist who broke through my fear and selfishness. A Eucharistic miracle took place in a little chapel in Kentucky and I believe firmly that Eucharistic miracles are more common than we realize.”

Tomorrow, we will be entering our annual eight-day Community Retreat.  Please keep us in your prayers, that it may be a fruitful time for all the sisters!