Skip to main content

GO WITH HIM

                In his “Treatise on the Love of God,” St. Francis de Sales recounts a memorable story about a queen boarding a ship with a king. When asked where she was going, the queen replied, “I do not know. It is enough for me that I go with him.”  Twenty-four years ago, I said “yes” to the invitation to follow Jesus into religious life. It is good that I did not know where I was going, because I might have objected that it was beyond me. He never gave “stockpiles” of grace for months or years at a time, but always enough for each successive present moment. In this way I began to learn to trust Him more. This is a grateful reflection on my journey with Him.
                Growing up in an intensely Catholic and Polish family on Milwaukee’s south side, Jesus and Mary were a very real and important part of my life. Grandpa Francis had a truly contemplative spirit. We used to sit on the porch steps in the evening, gazing at the stars and speaking about eternity. These moments planted a deep sensitivity to the Lord in my young heart. My great aunt, Sister Stella, radiated the great joy of a soul espoused to Christ in religious life. When I became aware of that a Sister was “the bride of Christ,” I felt certain that Jesus was calling me to religious life.
                My teen years held many distractions. At one point, I was sure that I would eventually marry my boyfriend and have at least ten beautiful children besides a career as a violinist. At the end of high school, life was externally successful but inwardly desolate. Despite numerous academic and musical awards, bright career prospects, good friends and romance, a gnawing emptiness grew inside. I tried to avoid being alone or in silence, because those made me more aware of the emptiness that I failed to admit.
                During a retreat after freshman year of college, the idea returned to me forcefully that I could never be completely happy unless I surrendered my life completely to Jesus and followed Him into religious life. I fought the idea vehemently and clung to the plans I had for my future. The more I resisted, the more intense the idea became. During all night Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, I fought the Lord and offered many objections. Each one was answered by a response from Scripture or other readings. When I protested that I had wandered too far and was not “good enough” to be a religious, someone read the passage, “Come to me with your imperfections.” When I told the Lord that I absolutely could not give up my boyfriend, the reading was, “Greater is He than any other lover.” Sometime around 2 or 3AM that night, I finally surrendered and said, “Yes, Lord. Whatever you want, I will do.” An indescribable peace followed. I have never regretted that “Yes.” 
                Religious life has held many adventures that could never have been anticipated. From door to door evangelization in St. Louis to a mountain top outside of Assisi, I often found myself in places or situations that I could never have imagined. It seemed a manifestation of God’s sense of humor that I was assigned after first profession to teach K-8 music at a school in Alton, since as a violin performance major in college that was the last thing I ever wanted to do. After about 19 years of teaching there, I loved it so much that I cried buckets when I was transferred to teach violin at a local community college. There have been many challenges- health difficulties, the sudden loss of my father to cancer, spiritual struggles, leaving the school and children I deeply loved. Through all of it, He was with me though He often hid Himself. There are days when the morning bell rings at 4:35, that I say, “Jesus, I wouldn’t do this for any other man!” Even though change was very painful, there have been new gifts such as the beautiful families and students I have come to know in my new apostolate.
               When I was younger, there seemed to be many spiritual lights and ideas that I wanted to share with others. As I grew older, I found that many of the joys and sorrows of life were beyond words, and I had less profound thoughts to share. However, it was always a joy to share the story of my vocation. If anyone who is reading this who has experienced God’s gentle but persistent call, I urge you to “go with Him” wherever He leads you. You will never be disappointed!

- Sister Marie-Therese, FSGM

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to our Family, Postulants!!!

Today, on the Feast of the Birth of Mary, our new postulants entered the postulancy of our American Province of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George! We thank God for the gift of these vocations. Pictured above - on their very first full day in the convent - are (from left) Ashley Vola, Samantha Goodson, Miranda Edgar, Jennifer Clark and Erin Leis. Welcome, Postulants! We Sisters are grateful that you have accepted Christ's invitation to belong totally to Him in our Franciscan community, and we support you wholeheartedly with our prayers and help! If you would like to send a word of welcome and encouragement to these new postulants, we will pass the greetings along to them. Just leave them as a "comment"!

Looking Back with Gratitude

“Christ is calling you; the Church needs you; the Pope believes in you and he expects great things of you!” My life would never be the same as the words of John Paul II coursed through my mind and beat with fervor in my heart. Me? Could he possibly mean me? Like many others, I felt Pope John Paul II was speaking directly to me as I sat behind him in the nose-bleed section of the stadium in Saint Louis. Throughout my high school years after this encounter, the idea of having a possible vocation to the religious life shocked and bewildered me, but at the same time brought me such peace. As each year came and went, my relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church grew with greater depth, understanding, and love. Through daily mass, Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary, Scripture and God’s divine intervention through his priests and religious, I soon realized that, yes, the Pope did mean me. Christ was calling me and how could I say no? After one year of college, I soon came to the realizatio

Celebrating our August Feastdays

We are pleased to announce the  Reception into the Novitiate of Clare Kennedy - Sr. M. Veronica Gabrielle Burnham - Sr. Bethany Marie Sidney Ramaekers - Sr. M. Magnificat and the First Profession of Vows of Sr. M. Rose Thomas Weighner Sr. M. Cecilia Abbadessa Sr. Mary James Becker Sr. Peter Marie Tran The celebration of Holy Mass with the Rite of First Profession and Reception into the Novitiate  will take place on  Sunday, August 2, 2020 at 3:30 pm. We are pleased to announce the  Final Profession of Vows of  Sr. M. Lucy Gantt Sr. Karol Marie Baumgarten Sr. Teresa Maria Leis Sr. Mary Francis Goodson Sr. M. Caterina Vola Sr. M. Gemma Kissel The celebration of Holy Mass with the Rite of Final Profession will take place on  Monday, August 3, 2020 at 10:00 am. Due to restrictions in place, we are unable to invite you to attend the ceremonies, however you are welcome to join us in prayer and participation via Livestream.