Sister M. Jacinta
This is your home. This is where you belong.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed my work as a teller and new accounts person at the bank, I knew that this was not the goal of my life. So, I began searching for colleges to attend to get a degree, yet what kind? My maternal grandmother made the suggestion that I write to religious communities to see how they served the church. Not keen on the idea, I avoided this suggestion several times. She persisted, assuring me that it may give me a direction on what I was to do with my life. One day, I went through the back of the Catholic Digest and found three of the most unique names of communities. (I was a public school kid and had no exposure to religious sisters).
I wrote three letters and proceeded to forgot about them. A week later, one answer found my address. A personally typed letter came from Alton, Illinois. My mom and several of my siblings did not hesitate with the news of its arrival as I entered our family home that day. Being begged by my family and grandmother to share it's contents, I opened the letter and began reading it as if it was a business letter. Yet, the moment I read that the sisters "made Christ's merciful love visible" and that they had several different apostolates, I began getting excited. Then, the two clinchers: "Would you be able to come visit us?" and "I hope you become one of us" found me on a plane to Alton, Illinois.
This was my first airplane trip ever. As I sat alone on this flight, I spoke to our Lord, "What am I doing? Am I losing it? What is happening?" I almost didn't want to exit the flight and was one of the last ones to leave. Then, as I walked into the airport terminal, a young, habited sister was scurrying in the opposite direction. I ran after her calling "Sister Ingeborg" (the one who wrote me). When she turned around, she was so happy to see me. She introduced herself as Sister M. Christine and told me she thought I decided not to come. Then, she peppered me with a million questions and spoke with me all the way to the convent.
I was blessed to visit for a whole week. The night before August 15th, the day when the youngest members take their habits for the first time, the young sisters make their temporary vows and the older ones, their final vows, I prayed. "Okay, Jesus, I came from Kittery, Maine to come here to Alton, Illinois, what do you want of me?" Listening quietly for awhile and reminding him that I wasn't going to leave until I got an answer, I heard him clearly respond in my heart. His gentle and loving words, "This is your home. This is where you belong" still hold me close to my merciful and loving Jesus in my beautiful community of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. How grateful I am for my vocation.