Happy Vocation Awareness Week!

I have come to love the look of awakening awareness when someone realizes for the first time that I am a Catholic Sister.  They are usually surprised, although this varies depending on their background and awareness of Catholicism and religious life. They usually start to say something and then stop.  Then they sometimes lick their lips or blink.  Finally they lean forward and generally say one of the following:

1) Like a nun?

2) Are you a real Sister?

3) Wow. Really?

4) or continued silence.

Here is a blog post from a heavy ministry day a while back where I had a number of these interactions, including the 8th grade boy who simply said "Woah!"

My general response is that I am a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace. Depending on their level of interest I tell them a bit about our charism and how I make so much more sense being me in the context of community as I try to integrate my life of prayer and my ministry in service of God and God's people.

Here on the blog, of course, this isn't an issue.  If you are reading the blog, my guess is you know I am a Sister.  Yes I am a "real" Sister, having professed perpetual vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience according to the Constitutions of a pontifically recognized community of women religious.  No, my community does not wear a habit but we do wear our "Peace Cross" as a symbol of identity with the Congregation.  Yes, there are other young women entering religious life, and yes they are entering a wide variety of religious communities, including my own. And yes I am very happy I took the plunge and sometimes can't believe how much sense I make in this life.

If you are maybe possibly considering that religious life might be where you make the most sense, you might want to check out this blog post about Vision Magazine.

If you know a young woman who might make sense as a religious Sister, why not tell her that? In a low key, non-scary way of course.  I might never have stopped long enough to listen if my pastor hadn't had a conversation with me one day along those lines.

Speaking of, this week the US Bishops Conference blog is featuring posts by younger religious and priests.  I wrote a blog post that tells my vocation story, including that invitation to consider religious life.  I think my post will be online tomorrow (Wednesday), but you can read the other posts already posted yesterday and today.

The moral of the story is that God is still calling.  Please join me in prayer and hope that women and men who are being called to religious life or the priesthood will be able to find the space in the hearts and busy lives to listen, ponder and consider answering yes.

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