Parents, give thanks to the Lord if he has called one of your children to the consecrated life. It is to be considered a great honor — as it always has been — that the Lord should look upon a family and choose to invite one of its members to set out on the path of the evangelical counsels! Cherish the desire to give the Lord one of your children so that God's love can spread in the world. What fruit of conjugal love could be more beautiful than this? (Vita Consecrata 107)

Dear Parents,

Greetings in Our Lord Jesus Christ! Please accept my heartfelt prayers for you as your daughter considers and discerns a possible call to the religious life. For some young women, this call comes as a surprise, for others it has been a desire or a recurring thought for many years. In each case, however, discernment is a grace-filled time, one in which parents certainly take an important role. Because of your desire for her happiness, you will no doubt be walking with your daughter on this journey.

A call to the religious life is a call from the Father to walk closely in the footsteps of His Son, Jesus Christ, with Him and for Him. Through our consecration, we become brides of Christ and concern ourselves with the things of the Lord. It is a joyful and beautiful life; fulfilling as well as challenging. It requires a unique freedom, that is, the freedom to give oneself completely to the Lord and His service.

As parents, you may or may not have ever thought of a religious vocation as a possibility for your daughter. A call can also come as a surprise to parents! I would like to assure you that it is understandable if you have had your own aspirations for your daughter and her happiness. However, as you may well know, the fulfillment of one’s heart lies deep within each individual person who has been made to know and love God. If this is truly a call from God, he will fulfill those deepest desires of your daughter’s heart by bringing a peace that cannot be found in the goods of this world.

I want to thank you for your openness to the grace that is yours during this precious time. May God bless you, Our Lady intercede for you, and may the Holy Spirit bring you his consolation and peace.

Sincerely in Christ our Bridegroom,

Mother Anna Grace, O.P.

(Mother Anna Grace, far right, is pictured with Sister Mary Angelica and their parents.)