The fragrance of fresh pizza wafted through the house on a cold Saturday evening. Cathy, our Candidate and newest member to our community in New Haven, treated us with two large pizza pies from Modern Apizza. We usually designate Saturdays as a day for pickup for dinner or “review for religious” (a.k.a. “leftovers”). Cathy’s contribution to our weekend dinner was a welcome surprise. The smell of freshly baked pies, kept warm in the oven, announced to all that dinner was ready. The community gathered in the kitchen before preparing to bless the meal.
“Have you seen Sister An Hoa,” asked Cathy, as she placed the pies on the kitchen table.
“No, I am not sure if she has completed her test.” I responded, noticing the community’s concern for Sister An Hoa.
“It is getting dark and cold and I wonder if she is ok?” said Sister Julia.
“I am not sure if she is home, but some random table is on the back porch,” said Sister June. “Last time a random table showed up on the back porch Sister An Hoa brought it home. Perhaps she is home and resting after her test.”
In the next moment, the cozy kitchen burst into a roar of cheer as Sister An Hoa walked into the kitchen. “There she is,” I exclaimed. The community was eager to hear about how her English competency exam had gone because this was an exam she had to take in order to apply for her PhD program. Her reply, however, had to wait as Cathy started, “Let us pray…”
My little community is a diverse intergenerational, intercultural and inter-congregational mix. An outsider might imagine that this diversity might create conflicts among the members living under the same roof; it does not. I am learning that, unlike housemates, life in a religious community encourages us to COME together in UNITY, forged by being grounded in our relationship with God and in living out our call to consecrated life. As we share our common life, we live with the awareness that we are dependent on each other. We experience God in our relationships and interactions with one another. Our community life both broadens our vision of God and deepens our understanding of the Divine. Ultimately, community helps us grow closer because of our common unity with God.
“This pizza is amazing,” I exclaim as I bite into my first slice of bacon and sausage pizza. While Modern Apizza is delicious, my real joy comes from sharing a meal with these women gathered around the dinner table. God brought me to this place through my call to religious life. As I continue my journey of formation as a sister, I am gifted by the opportunity to share my experience, life and faith with women, who like me, are following God’s call. The gift of their lives and their sharing makes my life so much better. I appreciate greatly the opportunities to grow in my personal and spiritual awareness as part of my interaction with my sisters. I count my blessings in being able to live in a community. We COME, sharing our diversity and gifts with each other in UNITY with God. Our intentional, diverse community gives me hope for a future filled with promise.
If God is calling you to consider religious life, why not take the leap and call one of our vocation ministers to start a conversation?