For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.Isaiah 55:1-2, 6-11
Born in Alaska, I spent most of my childhood in Washington and Oregon. I grew up in a loving home with a younger sister and brother where my parents passed on to us the Christian faith and the value of family and sacrifice. I loved to study and spend time with those close to me and it was always understood that I would go to college and be the first to complete a Bachelor’s degree.
After graduation, I moved out of my parents’ home and worked before deciding to also pursue a law degree. Fortunately, the closest law school had a program that allowed me to keep my employment. Upon graduating, faced a decision – accept a job offer where I was or accept my parents’ invitation to return home and resolve my law school loans faster. Taking a leap of faith, I accepted my parents’ invitation and returned to Alaska. I have loved being here close to family and friends, working, and volunteering at our parish.
My first memory of my faith was praying with my mom and giving my heart to Jesus when
I was about three years old. I was raised as an Evangelical Protestant, but growing up, I tended to do “just enough”. Possessing a stubborn, selfish streak, my faith was often neglected. Then, in high school, I had an “Aha!” moment – I found myself alone. Starting my senior year, I was at a new school and no longer the top of my class and my best friend had moved to a new town. Crumbling, I poured my heart out to God and rededicated my life to Him. Eventually, I was baptized and became very involved in our church. When I started law school I moved and left my church home. Realizing I was far from Jesus, I began to pray He would show me His church – where He wanted me. Over the next few months, through the invitation of a friend, I attended Mass and spent many hours in personal study and prayer. God answered my prayer by leading me to the Catholic faith. That was five years ago and I haven’t looked back, though there are stumbles along the way. I have experienced life apart from God and it is a mere shadow of my worst day with Him.
When I moved to Alaska, I felt God had something wonderful in store for me; I intended to find a good man, get married and raise a family. But that summer, I was asked whether I’d thought about becoming a nun. I was shocked – the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, but neither could I say I would never consider it. Something, or Someone, prompted me to look a little deeper. I took my time – my vocation discernment was like a slow-blooming flower. Over the next year, as I prayed, “Lord, your will be done” and I researched communities and talked to wise priests, the petals began to unfurl. Finally, I went on my first discernment retreat and visited the Dominican nuns at Corpus Christi Monastery in Menlo Park, California. From the moment I walked in the door, my soul felt at deep peace, as if I were home. Each subsequent visit only confirmed that initial sense.
When I started discerning my vocation, I quickly became drawn to the Order of Preachers,
otherwise called “Dominicans.” The four pillars of Dominican life are prayer, study, community, and preaching. While my introvert nature shied away from “preaching” per se, it was drawn to its purpose – the salvation of souls. I was drawn too by the fact St. Dominic started his order with women who had converted to the Catholic faith! The Dominican nuns were established by St. Dominic about 11 years prior to the founding of his preaching friars.
I spent one month inside the cloister. During that time, I experienced a small taste of life as a Dominican nun. Living a contemplative life of prayer and penance, a woman enters the heart of the Church. Her prayers and sacrifices support the work of the friars and other active members of the Order in a particular way. At the same time, you cannot help but come face to face with your own sins and faults in the silence.
Some may say cloistered life is a waste, that a life separated from the world is ridiculous and useless. But as one nun expressed, “we have not closed off or run away from the world, but rather, we gladly give our lives to the God of Love and to all our brothers and sisters without exception…”
Please pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. And in a particular way, please pray for me, that I would persevere in God’s will for my life.
How You Can Support Vocations Like Mine
A recent study confirmed that nearly 1 out of 2 Aspirants have student loans. and thus most communities and dioceses cannot accept them. It is the only thing that prevents many from entering formation to become a priest, brother, or sister.
Because of The Laboure Society and friends who gave so generously in support of vocations like mine, I am now free to begin formation with the cloistered Dominican nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery in Menlo Park, California. I enter formation on the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1, 2014. But there are many more young men and women aspiring to the priesthood or religious life who remain blocked from entering formation because of student loans. You can help remove this hurdle.
To learn more about The Laboure Society, read about aspirant alumni, like me, and to hear the stories of the current aspirants, please go to their website or give them a call.
Will you join our vocation journeys so others like me can answer God’s call? To join us in delivering vocations to formation, visit The Laboure Society’s website. Thank you and God bless!