Wednesday, May 28, 2008




Those of you who have been around for a little spell know that L.M., a regular visitor on the site had decided to join a religous order. She recently shared he story with me and said that she would like for it to be shared in the even that it could assist someone else. Here is part one of her vocation story:

Although the title above sounds a bit 'schoolish', I have been asked by several people for my vocation story. And since I also have to write it for my application to (the religious order she is joining), I thought I would write it here so my family & friends could read it as well.I can't say it's always been my dream to be a Nun. Growing up I thought I would get married and have children like my parents. God, however, had other plans for me - in fact, much better plans!

I went to public school through most of 7th grade so my memories of Sisters is limited during this time. I think I remember seeing them sporadically in Church - I remember the stories that my mom told me about growing up & going to a Catholic grade school, but I did not have this experience, at least not until the 8th grade.

I do have to say that my school-age memories of the Sisters were not very encouraging toward a religious life. We moved to Georgia and we went to a Catholic grade school. Sr. P., my English teacher in 8th grade, used to tell us stories about how she taught Moses to speak English. She would also sit behind her desk during independent study time and play tic-tac-toe with her feet. How she lost to herself, I'll never know. In 9th grade, I had the greatest Sister! She was in a non-habited Order yet she was a whiz at Geometry & Algebra. It was through her (and my 8th grade math teacher) that I fell in love with the math-sciences.

Just before 10th grade, we moved to Ohio. I had two former Nuns for teachers at the Catholic high school - one for English and the other for Religion. The Religion teacher was always trying to be 'hip' with the students, but not succeeding, and the English teacher talked in such a monotone that it was difficult trying to pay attention. Not very good role models.

It was on the campus of Ohio State University that I found myself drawn to a religious order. Sr. F. and Sr. M. worked at the Newman Center, just off campus. We would often talk about their decision for religious life, their discernment, and their love for our Lord. They seemed to have it all together and did not live within their communities, although they would often talk about going back to visit. I became more involved with the Church - EMHC, Pastoral Council member, TNT (Tuesday Night Together) Student Representative, RCIA Sponsor, and CCD Teacher. The more I became involved, the more I yearned to know more about our Lord and Savior.

After thinking about this for awhile, at least a couple years, I decided to let my mom know about my decision. We talked for hours. She asked me a question: "Are you wanting to join a religious order because you are really interested or because you are running away from dealing with the abuse.

For 10 years, starting when I was 7, I was molested by some of my cousins. It started innocently but when I told his father, my uncle, about the incident, he laughed and said his sons wouldn't do anything like that. Major blow to a little girl who trusted her parents when they told her that if something should happen, tell an adult, they'll believe you & they'll take care of it. I did, he didn't, and the abuse continued. It wasn't until the night before I was to leave for college that I told my parents about the abuse.

I couldn't answer my mom's question. Was I interested? Was I running? I decided to put off any thoughts of joining an order until I could answer this question honestly and without hesitation. At OSU I had gone to several student councellors - most of whom did nothing to heal the pain. After a year, I stopped....I was all 'talked' out. I needed something more. But now it was a couple years later, I was out of school & in the 'working world' and decided to try it again. I went to several counsellors, psychologists, and therapists during the next few years, most of whom did not help, some may have done more harm than good had I continued the sessions, and one who wanted me to be angry with my father & bring a teddy bear (which I did not own) to the session. That counsellor did not last long!

I soon found myself falling away from the Church looking for any type of healing. I rarely attended Mass. I bought many 'self-help' books and hung out with some interesting friends. These friends led me to psychics, reiki, tarot cards, and other alternative methods of healing. The annual "Light Expo" was also on my calendar. The only two things I refused to try were witchcraft and oiji boards because they scared me too much. The 'healing' sessions became more frequent and yet I never felt happy nor healed.

The healing, God's healing, started one weekend after an extremely busy and tiring week. I was so frustrated with life, myself, and God, that I decided to 'tell' God what I really thought. Little did I know He was listening. I told God that I was tired of my life. Tired of feeling so down, unhappy, and just plain tired! Something needed to change and I told Him to change it. That evening, my mom called to see if I was coming up for the weekend. I hadn't planned on it but a weekend with family sounded really good and relaxing...something I really needed. I packed my bags Friday morning so I could leave immediately after work. The 3 hour drive was very relaxing.

When I arrived at my parent's house, their Bible Study was just ending. We all chit-chatted for awhile until someone, I think it was my mom, asked if I wanted to be prayed over. Hesitantly I accepted, unsure of what they were going to do to me.Quickly they rearranged the room, sat me in a white wicker chair in the middle of the room, and surrounded me. I closed my eyes because I really didn't want to watch...for fear of what was going to happen. I felt their hands on my shoulders, head, arms, knees, and someone was holding my hands. All of a sudden they all started praying, loudly! Then different languages were heard even louder. I wanted to bolt! Every once in awhile I'd hear my name or 'healing' or something in English...but not very often. Although I was apprehensive, I felt at peace when everyone had finished. I couldn't explain it nor did I really understand.Matthew 18: 16-17 "Again, (amen) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

About 3 months later, I got a phone call from my mom telling me about a man (not really a pyschologist) who taught mind/body awareness specifically for abuse victims...and was located in Columbus. A year of therapy, self-defense, and mind/body awareness, all in a safe environment, led me through the healing of my 'inner child'...and the beginning of my spiritual healing.

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