9 years later ... my proper place

Next month marks nine years since I first drove onto the property here at St. Mary-on-the-Lake for a vocation retreat.  A few months earlier, I had finally woken up to the possibility that perhaps, possibly, maybe my desire might best meet God's desire as a Catholic Sister.  That initial wake up call would never have happened were it not for an simple email from my pastor that helped me name my deep desire to serve God and promote social justice as a path to peace.  I started meeting with a spiritual director and explored the possibilities of religious life, all the while sure that I would NEVER find a religious community where I would belong and be able to answer God's call.

Then, almost nine years ago, after searching the internet and finding the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, I accepted an invitation from Sr. Jo-Anne to drive up to Bellevue and attend a vocation retreat.  Since I was driving from Portland, I asked if I could stay overnight.  I was nervous.  Even though I'd attended 12 years of Catholic School, this would be my first time staying with Sisters.  I had lots of nervous energies and wonderings about what it would be like.  And then I drove onto the campus of St. Mary-on-the-Lake, our regional center in the Pacific Northwest.  I had a mix cd in the car stereo (this was 2004 and pre-MP3).  Literally as I turned down the drive into our forested campus, this song by Voice of the Beehive started to play:

"Jesus, Jesus, help me find my proper place."

No joke.  Unplanned.  And yet, he did. Nine years later I am finally professed as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.  This is home.  These women are in my heart.  I carry them with me when I am in studying in Chicago.  I carry them with me when I am helping to organize a conference of younger Sisters from congregations across the country.  I carry them with me when I am sitting by my father in the emergency room.  Somehow, through the grace of God I was able to stop, listen, and discover that place, both physical and not, where I am able to be my best self for the glory of God and to serve God's people in need ... as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.

Tomorrow I head back to Chicago to finish up some of my summer projects, head to another meeting, a week of vacation, and then start back up with school.  Today I will visit with a few more Sisters and soak in more of the peace that is this sacred space at St. Mary-on-the-Lake.  I might be leaving, but I carry this gift of community with me, and for that I am so very very grateful!

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