My vocation was the biggest surprise and the most wonderful gift that I can imagine. I was an elementary school physical education teacher, enjoyed my work, and had no thoughts at all of becoming a nun. Our Lord was working behind the scenes, though. I had a growing desire to spend more time in prayer with Him and to go to Mass more often, not just on Sundays. Even the desire to do more for the children whom I taught was growing in my heart. All of this was going on before God made it clear that He was calling me to follow Christ more closely. For some reason, which I cannot put into words, I knew this call was to the cloistered contemplative life. Placing my vocational journey into the hands of our Blessed Mother, I wrote to communities and finally chose three that I would visit. On the way home from these visits, I had already decided that the Passionist Community in Erlanger, KY, was the one God wanted me to enter. I also knew that I would indeed have to enter to find out if I was correct. You can’t tell from the outside!
It was the spirituality of keeping alive the memory of the Passion of Christ, the self-sacrificing love with which He suffered and died for us, that drew me. I had really enjoyed visiting the other communities and liked the nuns whom I had met, but the Passionist spirituality spoke to me as none of the others had done. To always remember and to remind others of God’s greatest work of love…the offering of His Son to give Himself for us…what a wonderful vocation! It fulfilled all of the desires that God had placed in my heart.
Some people do not understand how a cloistered nun can help the needy people of the world. As St. Therese, the Little Flower, said, “I knew that the Church had a heart.” The cloistered contemplative communities are the heart of the Church, praying and sacrificing to pump the blood of grace to those God has called to work among His people, all of the active orders. The heart of our body is hidden and cannot be exposed without killing us. The same is true of the Body of Christ, the Church. These communities are hidden and the Holy Spirit works through this hiddenness even as He works through the outward, seen witness of the active Religious. Everyone reading this has a vocation of some sort. May our Blessed Mother help you to know and follow that gift of your vocation, and so find your joy and peace.