Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.
Recently, I came across this wonderful quote. I thought it would be an excellent addition to our prayer for the recent gathering of all the women in formation for our congregation. During the year, as the Formation Coordinator, I often meet or have conversations with the women in formation individually, or with their sister mentors and their local communities. However, because of their full-time ministries, studies, and other factors, coming together as a group, occurs less frequently. The January gathering seemed the perfect time to share with each other the blessings, hopes and challenges of their sacred journey during the previous year—while also looking forward to the new year. The quote by Caroline Miller, provided a prayerful gateway for sharing around the joys, learnings and questions encountered during their formation journey.
Sharing in the process of helping another person deepen their relationship with God, or seeking to understand God’s movement in their life, is really a privilege. Whether their discernment leads them to confirm their vocation call as a religious sister or leads them to their discovery of a different call, neither the time nor the journey is wasted. It is still, “a sacred journey…about change, growth, discovery, movement…and expanding the vision of what is possible.”
Discerning a call about religious life or discerning any significant decision about our path in life, requires some basic skills. It requires understanding important things about yourself. Additionally, since “discernment” involves making God an intentional part of the process—it requires understanding of your own relationship with God. It is also helpful to have someone you can talk honestly with, like a mentor. Understanding these basic principles and learning other discernment skills can be helpful in navigating the sacred journey of your life. Click here for some helpful ways to begin discerning.
I find it to be a wonderful experience to journey with those in the formation process, as Candidates, Novices and Temporary Professed sisters. I am, indeed, grateful to continue this new year of discerning and companioning them on their journey into religious life. The current formation group of eight women—diverse in age, culture, race, and background—shared their hopes, dreams, and, yes, challenges experienced during this past year of their journey. However, gratitude and deep faith was also expressed and was evident in their sharing. They expressed openness and hope for this new year of mystery and possibilities. I feel compelled to also acknowledge my own gratitude for being part of their sacred journey. In fact, who among us would not be grateful to witness the Spirit’s transformation at work in both their own lives and in the lives of others?
In this new year, I pray that each of us may know the truth of Miller’s words, “You are on the path, exactly where you are meant to be right now…From here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of healing…of courage…of beauty…of wisdom…of power…of dignity…and of love.”
If you feel you are being invited to explore the journey of becoming a Sister, contact us or give us a call. We have a number of ongoing virtual discernment groups and we you invite to consider attending our next Come and See Discernment Retreat, March 17-19, in Columbus, Ohio. Click here to register.
Sr. Pat Dual, OP