Over the past year I have continued to discern if I feel that God is calling me to live fully alive as a Sister of St Joseph. This discernment has gone hand in hand with prayer, ministry placements and study.
I have and still feel strongly called to pastoral care / counseling for people that are young. So, I was over the moon to be recently given the opportunity to experience school life in a high school in NSW (MacKillop College). I will admit that I felt like the apprehensive new kid at school when I first, arrived, plus when I was asked to speak in front of 1500 students on my first visit I’m pretty sure my jaw actually hit the concrete!
But, I said Yes… I flourished and ‘yes’ became my mantra. With embrace of fears and a lot of ‘yes’ moments I found an absolute sense of home. I felt myself become more and more alive with students, teachers and parents.
While at MacKillop College I had many opportunities for immersion and experienced a variety of things from sport days, leading classes, school events and even said ‘yes’ to doing a reflection for three Sunday masses. I used balloons and a bit of humour to talk about forgiveness in my reflection – figuring that it’s best to be your true self, full of joy (or… full of helium!). Thank you to all who journeyed with me in Warnervale – you are a beautiful group of humans.
I am now also past the two year point on my Emmaus journey (novitiate). When I travelled to Australia in August 2015 I really didn’t know what I was getting myself in for. It may sound cheesy to say, but I feel in many ways like I really am a different person now. The Sisters have been very patient; it’s not an easy transition from secular life into religious life. Sure, it’s not a different world, but it is a different way of living, the ‘thawing’ process takes time. I have been given many opportunities for learning, including CPE, which really humbled me and started me on a new path to self-awareness (which I get the feeling I’ll always be working on!).
At the two-year point I completed a seven day silent retreat. This was a very intense time, the retreat focused on if this path to religious life is what God is calling me to, or if there is another pathway that would help me to best live out John 10:10? It is also a time when the congregation looks more deeply into my call. It is a mutual relationship, almost like dating in a way. It requires a lot of trust – negative “what if” moments can creep in. But, I have discovered that with deep discernment, listening and total surrender to God that there is no need to worry – letting go makes way for pure grace, peace and joy to flow.
Through the retreat I also had a huge realisation… it was time for me to stop running! Wowsers. I had been running pretty much every day for 7 years. But for the past 4 months I have been walking every morning instead of running. And I must say, I feel calmer, my hip and knee are much happier with my mind and in general I feel more peace.
“When I could not see my way