Sister Helena Raphael Burns, FSP, a sister in my community, recently published the story of her discernment titling it: What It’s Really Like To Be Married To Jesus. It’s a fun read, but also offers some very helpful insights for those who are discerning their vocations, especially to religious life.
My favorite line from Sr. Helena’s story:
This is what you’re [everyone is] supposed to think when you see a nun: “Yup! God is the Spouse of every soul, the Spouse of my soul.
When we live our vocations with authenticity–marriage, priesthood, religious life, single life–they complement and strengthen each other. Enjoy her story!
A couple weeks ago, I put out a call for questions about discernment, thinking that maybe Friday’s post could be a Q & A. Although a number of readers emailed me, only a couple of questions came up about discernment, mostly about discerning religious life, or what it’s like entering a religious community. I’ll be answering those questions shortly, but I just want to remind you that I’m happy to answer questions–and provide a forum where we can explore discernment together. For now, the best way to send me questions is to “comment” on one of my posts or send me an email. Questions sent to me on Twitter will probably reach me if you use @SisterMPaul, but questions on Facebook won’t reach me for now. (I haven’t been able to set up Facebook’s notifications so that I’m not inundated by all kinds of information that takes too much time to sort through. Hopefully I’ll figure out the settings some day soon!)
I look forward to hearing from you and continuing on our discernment journeys together!
Not sure where the path is leading…
After I entered religious life, I was almost immediately assigned to proofreading as a way of taking part in the Pauline mission.* Already a bookworm, I loved it there because I got to read almost half of the new books that our sisters published that year. And I became a pretty good proofreader, too. It seemed the perfect fit.
About two years later, I was assigned to the newly developing Pauline Video studio. I was flabbergasted. Why would anyone in their right mind take me away from books and throw me into a department that required talent in visual arts and a combination of skills that I knew I didn’t have: creativity, technical skills, and an ability to design? As I struggled with the new assignment, one of the sisters told me, “God knows us better than we know ourselves. You wait and see: God will show you why you’ve been sent there.”
It took me a number of years to figure out what a marvelous gift God gave me in transferring me to the video studio. Working in a small studio where everyone has to help out in many areas—out of sheer necessity—stretched me to develop talents I’d had no idea I had. And it also gave me many opportunities to write. Although I’d never thought about writing a script before, it became my favorite form to write in. Sometimes God’s co-authorship gives our stories a plot turn that we do not expect!
Over the years, I have learned to trust that God always has a reason for leading us—God wants to lead us closer to himself, and closer to the fulfillment of God’s dream for us.
And God’s dream for us is better than we could ever possibly imagine!
*The Daughters of Saint Paul have the mission of communicating Christ through their lives and all forms of media.