I gave no introduction or explanation of yesterday’s post, because I think it stands well on its own. I wrote that piece a number of years ago when I and all the sisters in my congregation were asked to write about the story of how they were called to the community. Using an allegorical writing style has often helped me to touch into deeper realities, and being on a directed retreat at the time I wrote it sure didn’t hurt.
I think I alluded in an earlier post to my surprise that God was calling me to religious life. It certainly wasn’t in my 5-year plan. You see, I had finished my undergraduate engineering degree and was working on my Master’s degree, planning to return to my position in industry. I was in a relationship that seemed headed for marriage, and my ultimate career goal was to be CEO of my company.
If only I hadn’t gone on that weekend retreat at school (University of Detroit). After the retreat, I was having a few doubts about whether or not I was really ready to get married, but it seemed more a matter of timing than a questioning of the whole concept. So I was chewing the fat with Sr. Marg outside the Campus Ministry office, talking about how I thought my older brother would be a good priest, when she asked the fateful question, “Sandy, have YOU ever considered religious life?”
I had a quick answer ready: “Of course, I’ve considered it….I went to Catholic schools my whole life. But it’s not really an option for me. I’m planning to get married, and I have this engineering career ahead of me….”
And that was that — or so I thought. As I crossed the street to go back to my dorm, my knees started feeling wobbly, and my legs seemed as though they were turning to rubber. My stomach did somersaults…what was THAT about?! God couldn’t want me to be a nun, could God?
The possibility that this was exactly what I was being invited to consider stayed in the back of my mind as I struggled to make sense of my reaction to Marg’s question. At first I interpreted what happened as an invitation to look more carefully at my relationship with the man I was seeing. When it became clear that we were not meant to be life partners, the nagging voice at the back of my head continued to whisper, “Maybe God DOES want me to be a nun.” Scared? You BET!!
To make a long story short, I decided to visit the Sisters of St. Joseph. I made a deal with God that after I visited them and didn’t like it, God would leave me alone and stop bugging me. God was never very good at following my orders….
So, as soon as I was greeted at the door of the motherhouse in Baden, I felt I had come home. I knew that very first weekend that this was where I belonged…I wasn’t supposed to like it, but I fell in love.
I’ve had many other moments like that in the 20-some years I’ve been in the congregation, and it’s moments like these that help me get through the in-between times, times when I’m bogged down with work, when I feel disappointed or betrayed, when I feel lonely, etc.
I hope you have such moments to savor in your own life…care to share one?