Recently, I read an article by Global Sister’s report where several religious sisters offered reflections about Sisters who had influenced their vocation. Most of us have memories of people who have inspired us or have been influential in our lives. When I think of my own life, there are several people who have been significant in my journey into religious life. There is one Sister in particular though who helped me fully realize the desire and possibility of such a call in my own life.
Some years before I decided seriously to discern a call to religious life, I met my first Dominican Sister. I had met many other religious women, a couple of them I knew fairly well, but I had never met a Dominican. During the time I met this Sister, I had been secretly pondering the unlikely idea of religious life. I will never forget the event, the room and the conversation where this Sister, unwittingly, brought this idea about religious life out of the shadows and into the forefront of my thinking.
I met this Sister for the first time during a meeting of a group where I was one of the newest members. The Sister was a returning member, but this was our first time being present together in the group. As people were milling around, greeting each other before the start of our gathering, I remember noticing the new member as she greeted people, moving around talking, smiling and laughing. I remember thinking there was something different about her. Then, when I heard someone call her “Sister”—that really got my attention! I remember thinking, “She’s a Sister?” I made a mental note to talk to her to find out what religious order she belonged to. However, as it turned out, she found her way to me first!
The conversation started out as quite ordinary. We exchanged pleasantries and she complimented me on the prayer service that I had just led with the group. I, in turn, thanked her and asked about where she lived and about her ministry. I also asked about her community and specifically, if there were any African-Americans in her community. Now, I was asking that question, simply, as a way to continue the conversation. But, I will never forget the smile and cheery tone when she responded, “No, but you could be the first!” Caught off guard, I started laughing, and said, “Oh no, Sister, not me!” I suddenly found myself asking quite seriously, “Do you think I might have a vocation?” She looked me in the eye and responded without hesitation, “Yes, I do.”
I never forgot that conversation. While I was not ready to think about discernment at that time, future conversations, interactions and invitations to visit the community, helped me to eventually discern to say “yes” to the possibility of religious life. I view that conversation as watering the seed that had already been planted. It helped inspire the journey that eventually led me to become a Dominican Sister. There were other Sisters (some from different congregations) and other moments that were inspiring or influential in my journey. But it was the first Dominican Sister whom I met and our inspired conversation that became an influential moment in my vocation journey.
How about you? Are there any Sisters who have influenced your life in some way?
In fact, maybe a Sister has even inspired you to think about the possibility of a call to religious life? Yes? Call us, we can help.J