It is a wonderful gift to serve in the vocation office and to witness the beautiful work the Lord is doing in so many lives. Daily I see a willingness to say “yes” to his call and to give him everything. Vocations are the Lord’s work, and so it is my role to be there when his work has resonated in the hearts of those who are so generously responding. The Lord has a plan of holiness for each of us, and through the process of discernment a young woman discovers how the Lord is specifically inviting her to live this out.
Many are hearing the call to give everything and are seeking an authentic religious life that is joyfully lived. They have discovered that true happiness is realized in doing the Lord’s will and have come to recognize the invitation of the Lord in the silence of their hearts. Pope Francis has encouraged us to listen attentively for this invitation and to respond to it generously. During a recent Regina Caeli address he told the young people gathered, “The voice of Jesus is unique! If we learn to distinguish it, He guides us on the path of life…I would like to ask you: have you sometimes heard the voice of the Lord which through a desire, a certain restlessness, invites you to follow Him more closely? Ask Jesus what He wants from you and be brave! Be brave, ask Him!!!” (St. Peter’s Square, April 21, 2013)
If you have heard the Lord’s gentle invitation to religious life, it may have taken you by surprise. Fear is not an uncommon response to the first stirrings of a religious vocation. As the Lord begins to make his will known, we may find ourselves saying, “Who, me?”... “But, I am not good enough, holy enough, pious enough!”… “What if I make a mistake?” However, if one is called to the religious life then, with time and prayer, fear turns to conviction and we can begin the first steps to finding and accepting his will. This conviction brings a peace and joy that nothing else can match. A young woman open to the call to give her whole life to Christ will find that she can only surrender to this irresistible prompting that He has placed within her heart.
I am happy to help you in any way that I can. Please feel free to contact me with questions, knowing that I welcome the opportunity to share with you what it means to be a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia. The Lord desires to reveal his plan for your life, and will give you the grace to respond with a generous and joy-filled heart!
Place your vocation in Our Lady’s hands and ask her to pray that you may respond as she did. During the Mass for Marian Day towards the close of the Year of Faith, Pope Francis reminded us that “at the message of the angel, Mary does not hide her surprise. It is the astonishment of realizing that God, to become man, had chosen her, a simple maid of Nazareth. Not someone who lived in a palace amid power and riches, or one who had done extraordinary things, but simply someone who was open to God and put her trust in Him, even without understanding everything: ‘Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38). That was her answer. God constantly surprises us, he bursts our categories, he wreaks havoc with our plans. And he tells us: Trust me, do not be afraid, let yourself be surprised, leave yourself behind and follow me!” (St. Peter’s Square, October 13, 2013).
God bless you,
Sr. Peter Marie, O.P.
St. Cecilia Motherhouse
801 Dominican Drive
Nashville, TN 37228-1909