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Discerning a religious vocation in love

First slide

When I think back on the story of how God called me to the Daughters of St. Paul, I am struck by the gentle urgency and immediacy of his call. I first met the Daughters when I was 13. While I was intrigued by who the Sisters were and what they did all day, I didn’t really feel anything more than a mild curiosity. But, when I was 16, I spent a week with the Daughters at our St. Paul Summer Program — a vocational discernment week for high school women. I began that week merely feeling curious, feeling that maybe, perhaps, someday, I might ask God if he wanted me to be a sister. By the end of that week, having truly prayed and encountered God for one of the first times in my life, I felt him inviting me to consider my vocation not just someday, but now.


This thread of the gentle immediacy of God’s call followed me through my discernment. I continued to visit the Daughters, praying and growing in my relationship with God … and, as I continued all these things, I gradually began to feel two things: that God wanted all of me, and that I wanted to give all of myself to him. But, at times I was worried that I might be imagining everything that I was feeling, that it wasn’t really God who was calling me. At a certain point I told God that I wanted to be sure before I moved forward. His answer? “Trust me.”


This is my encouragement to anyone who feels God inviting them to consider the priesthood or religious life. Pay attention to what God is doing in your heart. Pray and develop your relationship with God. Above all, trust that God will reveal his call to you. He loves you, and his call is an expression of his love for you. Your response is the expression of your love for him. Let love be the context of your discernment. And then? Get out there. Call the vocation office, email a sister, start making visits. Be open to what God tells you along the journey. Don’t be afraid. God might be calling you to ask him about your vocation, not just someday, but maybe now.


Sr. Emily is the national vocation director for the Daughters of St. Paul. She is a member of the Alexandria community.




© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018