Born and raised in the Twin Cities, MN, I am the oldest of 3 children in my family. My earliest memories growing up are of my parents reading bedtime Bible stories, and attending Mass each Sunday and on holy days. I am blessed to have Catholic parents and a Church community who taught me about our faith, and about my vocational options. As a girl, my Mom taught me to have a daily prayer time, talking with Jesus, beginning 5-10 minutes each day, and Dad encouraged me to read the Bible. As my relationship with Jesus grew slowly, I remember praying for a life of adventure and mystery, and asking, “Lord, I will enter the vocation you want for me, only let my heart desire what You want.”
My faith came alive more fully during high school after attending Discipleship Week retreats hosted by NET Ministries. During college, as I took a year off from school to serve with NET myself, we ended up at Prayer Town for one week, helping the Sisters with service projects, because our retreats had been cancelled. That week I felt at-home during the prayer meeting, and working with the Sisters at Prayer Town, and joining one of their retreats. It took several years more for me to realize I was being called to religious life.
Through my involvement with St. Paul’s outreach Household program, community life became important to me. During their formation program on discernment, I felt the Lord telling me it was time to get serious about my discernment. I prayed the boldest prayer I’ve ever prayed, “Lord, if you’re asking me to discern religious life, I will, but I need the money, the opportunity where I won’t miss too much school, and an open invitation.” That very evening the phone rang and a Sister invited me to a Come and See retreat that fit exactly into my Spring Break! I received the money I needed from my Dad, and was set to visit. I had, however, a list of hesitations why this couldn’t work- “How can I live a healthy life if the Sisters live off of donations? Will I be able to exercise? How can I use my gifts? Isn’t it just boring to sit and pray all day?”
During my short stay at Prayer Town, the Lord answered every one of my doubts with assurance that I had a completely mistaken idea of what religious life was. He would provide for each of these needs. But most importantly, I felt a deeper peace in prayer than ever before, and the Lord seemed to say, “This is going to be your new home.” I went home feeling overwhelmed, but certain of my next step. I found a spiritual director, moved into a discernment house with other women also discerning their call.
I made plans to pay off my student loans, and spent my last year in the world working again in the faith-filled environment of NET, bringing my discernment full circle. The Lord gave me such clarity that I was certain I was following His voice. Religious life has been the greatest adventure and mystery I could have asked for! Jesus has called me to be His Bride, and fulfilled the deepest desires of my heart.