My name is Joyce, and I am almost 21. I’m celebrating four years as a confirmed Catholic. Today, I am blessed to announce that I’m applying to enter with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.
In May of 2010, I boarded a bus with my high school band for a sixteen hour ride to Boston. The week was both terrifying and cathartic. On the bus and during the majority of the trip, I felt hopeless. My conversion was seeming more and more shallow, and I was in a deep depression. I was considering irreversible and permanent action to end it, and so unhappy that I saw no other way out. It had gotten to the point that I had a severe anxiety attack. I missed a concert with the Boston Symphony, and spent the majority of the night in the ER.
While I was on the bus previous to this scenic tour of Boston, I kept barraging God, demanding to know what he wanted me to do with the rest of my life. I wanted to know my purpose and demanded to know if I had one. I got home and began immediately searching Google for “nun life.” I had to know why, at three in the morning, after no sleep, and a day that would understatedly be called “trying,” God told me “Shut up, go to sleep, and trust that I love you. I’m not leaving you, and I won’t, ever. I want you to be a sister. Now go to sleep.”
The next day, I prayed for the words that God gave me to stick. I also began what my dear friends Z and Sister J call “analysis paralysis. ” My definition is “Exacerbating the severity of a situational decision so badly that the decision is never made.” I began questioning how God could call me to something “..so crazy.. pious..” Thankfully, in 2013, I left the final bits of that gnawing feeling behind. After years discerning with a community I knew I had my heart set on for the wrong reasons, I let go. I finally let God take these reigns and ask me for my fiat.
He asked me for my unwavering and undaunted yes. He asked me to lay my life, love, past, present, and future, in His hands. The day was December 5th. I knew where my whole being and purpose was. Religious life means service and deep intimacy in my heart and soul for the amazing blessings God has given me in my family, friends, and the call given me as a servant of his love. It doesn’t mean I change everything about me, it means I live as myself more fully, and more graciously. It calls and gnaws until I’m so sure I want to say a daily yes, I can’t help but want to nurture it.
For anyone searching, please know it’s not easy to decide this kind of thing. Yes, God calls a very small number of us. If it was popular, or easy, or physically rewarding, we would see lines outside of every convent and seminary in the world. All we can do is go gently with ourselves, and trust that sweet baby in the manger. He grew for thirty three years before getting even the tiniest glimpse of his purpose.
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