All you who are thirsty, come to the water. Is 55:1
These words of God spoken through the Prophet Isaiah are both an invitation and a command. Ever obedient (sic) I have accepted the invitation and O’ so willingly embraced the command. Thus, I have come away on retreat this week to St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Retreat House in Cape May Point, NJ. Before I totally unplug, I wanted to share some thoughts with you . . .
“Each sister makes an annual retreat.” Constitutions of the Dominican Sisters of Peace
My room is simple, ‘by design’ (so says the brochure on the small desk); with a bed, bureau, old clothes tree and a Morris chair facing an open window. Through the window, I can see the Atlantic Ocean. A strip of sand, protected by a sturdy sea wall, is all that lies between the house and the sea. Ahh…to rest here in God’s love is a great privilege and joy. Retreat is a time for me to renew my relationship with God, to recharge my spiritual batteries and to give thanks for all that has been and that will be.
Retreats by the sea hold a special place in my heart and in my vocation story. One of the places I discerned my call to religious life was at the Jersey shore. The year was 1988. It was January and I was on retreat with some friends in Sea Isle City, NJ. The other women, along with my friend Jean’s dog Trinity, and I had prayed Morning Office together and the scripture had been Isaiah 55:1, “All you who are thirsty, come to the water.” Coincidental? I do not think so.
So, later that morning, there I was walking along the beach asking, “Ok God, here I am, I’ve come to the water, now what?”
I listened. The sea air buffeted me and the waves continued to move in and move out . . . nothing, no answer . . . then, it began. I felt a warmth in the center of my chest growing and radiating out. With it, a certainty that this light/warmth in my heart was God calling me to something more. To embrace the call to religious life that I had been feeling for some time now.
“Yes!” I screamed into the wind. “Yes!” I said to the women when I entered the house. “Yes!” I said when I returned home and called my vocation director.
That was a few years ago. This year, I am celebrating my 25th Jubilee as a Dominican Sister. I continue to journey deeper into the heart of God – which is my center. I continue to say, “Yes!”
Are you being called? If you feel that God is calling you to religious life, contact us to begin the conversation.
You are in my prayers in a special way this week as I make my retreat and “come to the water.”