We are happy that you have chosen to visit these pages, designed especially for those who may be considering a vocation to the religious life. I hope the information you find here will be helpful to you as you seek to know our community better.
By the grace of the sacrament of Baptism, the Lord has called each of us to holiness. As a young woman prayerfully seeks to discern her vocation in life, the Holy Spirit guides her in discovering how the Lord is specifically inviting her to respond to this call. Many are hearing an invitation from God to give everything to him in religious life. 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. “Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us…. We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives” (Pope Francis, St. John Lateran, March 8, 2020).
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, one may find herself saying, “Who, me?”... “But, I am not good enough, holy enough, pious enough!”… “What if I make a mistake?” However, if God is calling one to religious life, then with time, prayer, and trustful surrender to God’s grace at work within, fear turns to conviction and one 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 who opens herself to the call to give her life wholly to Christ will find that she can only surrender to this irresistible prompting that He has placed within her heart.
As the vocation director for the Congregation of St. Cecilia, I am here to assist in the discernment and discovery of the Lord’s calling. Please feel free to contact me with questions, knowing that I welcome the opportunity to share what it means to be a Dominican Sister of Saint 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!
As you courageously consider the Lord’s call, look to Our Lady, as Pope Francis exhorted in the 2015 message for the Day of Prayer for Vocations: “With the generous courage born of faith, Mary sang of the joy of leaving herself behind and entrusting to God the plans she had for her life. Let us turn to her, so that we may be completely open to what God has planned for each one of us” (St. Peter’s Square, March 29, 2015). Place your vocation in Our Lady’s hands and ask her to pray that you may respond as she did. Our Lady, cause of our joy, pray for us!
Sr. Mara Grace, O.P.
St. Cecilia Motherhouse
801 Dominican Drive
Nashville, TN 37228-1909