When I was discerning religious life, I would search for all the articles about Sisters in the diocesan newspaper, would send away to congregations to get great piles of vocation literature and had so many books on saints that I could have opened my own lending library. I was hungry for information about Sisters and various congregations. I also watched and re-watched such movies as the Bells of St. Mary’s, the Trouble with Angels, and In This House of Brede. I, like many discerners, needed information in order to learn about religious life and to discern well. I was also blessed with getting to know the Sisters in person and being part of a discernment group with other men and women discerning a call from God. Yet, I still hesitated.
Ultimately, what helped me make the decision to ask for an application was attending the renewal of vows of a friend who happened to be a sister. Sr. Annette was a temporary professed sister at the retreat house in McLean, Virginia, where I volunteered and went on retreat. The sisters knew I was discerning and so when Annette was going to renew her vows at a simple ceremony during Vespers, I was invited to attend. At some point during the ceremony, I sensed God saying to me, “This could be you.” Then, as she professed her vows, I felt a deep longing within myself to give my life completely to God as she had done. Not long afterwards, I applied and was accepted into the congregation as a candidate.
Fast forward 30 years to this past weekend, when I was honored to be with our Sister Ana Gonzalez as she professed her Vows as a Dominican Sister of Peace for LIFE. The Mass, the perpetual profession ceremony and the preaching were all profound and will be long remembered. As Ana professed her vows, many of us were quietly speaking the same words as we renewed our commitment once again, for LIFE.
I wonder who may have been in the audience or watching on the live-stream, and asking, “Could this be me?”
If you are wondering if this could be you, then why wait? Consider attending our next Come & See Retreat, September 10 -12 in Akron, Ohio or reach out to the vocation team to start the conversation. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next person to enter our congregation.