An unexpected invitation came my way when a teacher asked me to share my vocation story with her students. Here’s how the situation unfolded:
On weekdays, I usually participate in the 8 a.m. Eucharistic Celebration at St. Ann’s Church, our local parish in Normandy, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. The highlight of my participation each week is the Wednesday celebration, when the students at St. Ann elementary school attend the morning Mass. I get great joy from going to the school Mass on Wednesday and interacting with the teachers and students.
Sharing my story after an unexpected invitation
Last fall, the 6th grade teacher at St. Ann School, Mrs. Cheryl Thomas, spoke with me after the school Mass. She asked if I would be available to share my vocation story with her 6th graders at some point during the school year. I didn’t hesitate to say yes to this unexpected invitation.
In January Mrs. Thomas approached me again to set up a definite time for me to speak with her class. We set a date and decided that my visit would be informal.
On the day of my visit we arranged the chairs in a circle and opened the session with a prayer. Then I asked every student to give their name and to share one fact about themselves. Mrs. Thomas and I also shared an aspect of our early lives that led to our adult vocational choices.
In an effort to expand on my vocational experience I told the students that God calling me to become a religious Sister was a bit like a nudge of conscience, although at the same time I had a personal desire to marry and have children. I told the children how I continued to experience the struggle between a desire for marriage and a personal call to religious life until four years after my graduation from high school when, at the age of 21, still torn between the two possibilities, I decided that I had to “get off the fence” and make a decision.
I gave a few more details of what led me to join Sisters of the Good Shepherd. My final decision to choose Sisters of the Good Shepherd was influenced by how we served girls between the ages of 13 and 18 who were adjudicated “delinquent” by governmental agencies.
I shared with the students how, in addition to wanting to serve young women, I discovered a way to grow more deeply in relationship with God through coming to know His Son Jesus more profoundly.
I really enjoyed the interaction with Cheryl Thomas and the students in the 6th Grade. I believe deeply that those who truly care about others can have a positive influence on their lives. This is especially so in the lives of children.