Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A Vocation Story

A few weeks ago, I recieved a friend request from which is a special site set up for Catholics all over the world to try and connect with one-another. Low and behold, it was a cloistered nun... And not just any cloistered nun... One of Mother Angelica's own Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, Sr Marie St. Paul. Here is her vocation Story.

The first glimpse of my vocation as a religious came to me when I was 8. The details are hazy now, but I remember having a dream where Our Lord came to me as a young Boy. When I awoke the next morning I knew without a doubt that He loved me and that, in some mysterious way, I belonged to Him. The realization of His love was tangible to me for quite a few days. Many years would pass before I grasped the full import of that dream.

Thanks to my Mom and Dad’s great faith, I was baptized and raised a Catholic. After my Confirmation the Holy Spirit took me in hand and so began the journey of discerning my vocation. I started to read more about the saints and the Church. The Faith really came alive. At the same time I was determined to pursue my dreams of joining the military. After graduating from Northern Arizona University and being commissioned a second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, I went to my first assignment on active duty. To put it succinctly, I was miserable. To be honest, even though I was trying to live a more faith-filled life, I was still pretty worldly. It was a big struggle for me. Our Lord is very patient, thank goodness!

One weekend in May, I attended a Marian-Eucharistic Congress. One of the last scheduled activities was a procession with an exact replica depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe. As she was passing by, I said to Our Lady, rather casually, “Change my heart.” Since most of the people were attending the procession, I headed down to the Adoration Chapel. As I looked at Our Lord and He looked at me, it became clear to me He was calling me to be His Spouse. I decided to go to Confession to a little retired Jesuit priest, told him I thought I had a vocation, and burst into tears! Poor Father, he didn’t know what to do with me!

A few months later (during which I wavered back and forth, back and forth!) I was attending Sr. Marie AndrĂ©’s Investment in Alabama and I was able to speak with Mother Angelica. I was pretty sure she was going to tell me I was crazy and I didn’t have a vocation and that would be the end of it. Well, after about a minute of my pathetic stammering, she said to me, “Yes, you have a vocation.” I was shocked and relieved and then, really, really happy! I headed out to St. Michael’s Hall and at the time, there was a picture hanging there of a young boy. It was actually a picture of the Old Testament Joseph in his multi-colored coat, but when I looked at it, the memory of my dream came flooding back to me. It was a very comforting and enlightening confirmation from Our Lord.

I was just reading in a document from the Holy See where we as religious are called to be vocation animators. I pray my story and the sisters’ stories lead many young people to discern whether Our Lord is calling them to lead a life consecrated wholly to Him. I can only say that during my religious life, with all its struggles and trials, I have never known such joy. Our Eucharistic Lord is this Joy, my very Life.

“I do so dearly believe that no half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the Light unflinchingly.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien

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