The Catholic Church celebrates today as World Day of Consecrated Life. Pope Benedict in his homily today entitled: “A Life Dedicated to Listening and to Proclaiming His Word” said: (Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-31648?l=english
Dear brothers and sisters, be assiduous listeners of the Word, because every wisdom of life is born of the Word of the Lord! Be scrutinizers of the Word, through Lectio Divina, because consecrated life “is born from listening to the Word of God and accepting the Gospel as its norm of life. To live following the chaste, poor and obedient Christ is in this way a living “exegesis” of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit, in the strength of which the Bible was written, is the same who illumines the Word of God to men and women founders with new light. From it flows every charism and every rule is an expression of it, giving origin to itineraries of Christian life marked by evangelical radicalism” (post sydinol apostolic exhortation “Verbum Domini,” No. 83).
In today’s society, women and men still respond to God’s call to live a life dedicated to God and to service. We are not perfect human beings, but ordinary people, sometimes called to do extraordinary things. We are not holier than other people. We strive to be holy by putting God at the center and we support each other in doing this.
Thirty three years ago I entered the Sisters of Bon Secours as an idealistic young woman. Along side of the joy and excitement was also the fear and the doubt about whether I was really doing the right thing. I’ve since learned that most people who take these steps have similar feelings – even men and women on their wedding day. Its quite normal.
I just hung up the phone from speaking with a young woman who is a teacher and is considering religious life. As the vocation director for Sisters of Bon Secours in the USA, I help people to look at life options and if they are called to religious life or not. She asked if I had any regrets. I honestly told her no. I honestly think this is the life God called me to live. It does not mean there are not ups and downs and times of wondering what it might have been like to be married with children. This too is normal.
I could not have dreamed of all the people I’ve had the good fortune to get to know and to work with. I could not have dreamed of all the things I’ve done as a sister. I’ve been a nursing home administrator, a parish administrator. I’ve either helped or started on my own numerous projects ranging from a 200 bed nursing home to a health and dental clinic in Ecuador to a drop-in center for women in inner city W. Baltimore. Would I have had these opportunities if I had not entered? Most likely not. I was working in the hotel and restaurant business (Holiday Inn). I thought I was going to climb the career ladder in the hospitality industry. Yet, I opened my heart to God and you know what happens when you give someone an inch – well God took an inch and much more – my whole life! I gave my heart to God.
I’m not an overly pious person, but I do love God. And I decided that God was calling me to something more in life than climbing the corporate ladder of the hotel business. No, Monica, I have no regrets in saying yes to God and to being a sister. Its a daily choice I make. I am basically happy in my life as a Sister of Bon Secours. God is very much a part of my life. I am happy in my community life. I love my ministry of helping folks figure out what God is calling them to. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I invite others to explore this life if you believe God is calling you to something more – and that more may be religious life. Its not the typical route in life, but its a life worth living. No regrets!
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