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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Vocation Story: Sr M. Jennifer

This vocation story comes from Sr M. Jennifer from the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.

I had been exposed to only a few sisters in my early years, and although I liked them and enjoyed helping them, I never imagined becoming one myself. When I was about nine we were introduced to Schoenstatt, and the first sister I met was Sr. Marie. She invited my sister and I to come to camp in Sleepy Eye, MN, and soon I became a regular participant. I enjoyed being with the sisters, for they were always happy, and they knew how to make you feel at home. But still, my plan was to grow up, get married, and have lots of kids. I would never become a sister- or so I thought!

When I was fifteen, I was able to attend the Reception of five new sisters in Waukesha. I enjoyed it very much. Everything was so beautiful… and I believe at that occasion, the seed was planted - although I didn’t realize it yet.

The first time I actually gave it a thought was after my sixteenth birthday. On that occasion my parents gave me a chastity ring, which is a ring that symbolizes I will remain chaste until marriage – or forever! It was a very solemn moment as my father took the ring and placed it on my left hand. Needless to say, this made a deep impression on me, and I began to wonder ~ what if God is really calling me to be a sister? I had always prayed a simple vocation prayer everyday, asking for the grace to know what my vocation in life is, but it never occurred to me that maybe I was to be one of the few chosen for the consecrated life.

I had also always been encouraged to remain open, and even if there is the slightest inspiration in my heart to think of the consecrated life, I should not ignore it, but really pray about it and be open to God’s call. So I waited and prayed, keeping myself open to any sign from above. And this sign came during a vocation retreat I attended. It wasn’t anything extraordinary – just a song which I had heard for the first time called “The Summons.” While I listened to the words, it seemed as if Christ was speaking directly to me. “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same…?”

From the depths of my heart I knew I wanted to say ‘yes.’ And I cannot describe the great peace that filled my soul once I had said that very simple word. With that I knew I was called to be a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary. This decision was confirmed and strengthened a few weeks later as I participated in the girls’ youth pilgrimage to Schoenstatt and Rome. On August 10th I made my covenant of love in the Original Shrine, and I realized how much God had given me through Schoenstatt. It was his merciful love that had called me here, and I knew I could never repay him for everything he had given me. With this I decided to give my life for Schoenstatt. And of course, God is never outdone in generosity, for with every little gift we give him, he in turn lavishly bestows his abundant gifts and graces. To this I can testify!

Was it always easy? God needed to prove my love and faithfulness to him. Sometimes I would think – “Maybe this is all a dream… Marriage is also so beautiful… Wouldn’t it be fun to go to college…Can I really be a sister?” But in the end I am convinced that it was prayer that helped me through – my own prayers and those of others. And this thought always stuck with me: I heard my call in a moment of grace, so I can count on grace to help me remain faithful to it. And you can do the same! You can count on my prayers for you as you also discern your vocation... And please remember: the call one receives from God is the greatest treasure one can possess, and only that can make you truly happy!

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