Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Discernment Story

I have been considering religious life seriously for over a year, since I went on a retreat in July 2006. When I first thought about it, it came as a total surprise--I have graduate degrees in theology, and I had spent years adamantly telling people that I was not going to be a nun! That seems to be the question people ask when they find out you are studying theology. Then that July, a few months after I finally graduated, I knew I had to really think about that question. Am I called to religious life?

I looked at a few religious orders, but I soon had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted. Habits hold some fascination, but the orders that wear habits are generally too "obedient" for me--too focused on the dictates of Rome, not willing to ask the questions that I want to ask (I am a theologian, after all). I'm happy to follow the Church's rules, but I need the freedom to ask "why" and to speak my mind when I think the reasons for something are insufficient.

The religious order that I ended up getting to know was the Society of the Sacred Heart, founded in 1800 by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, who modeled the formation process after the Jesuit formation process. Lovely! The history fascinates me, and I can relate to the emphasis on education, especially an education that is transformative. And I love the Jesuits, their spirituality, and their educational systems.

The RSCJ women I have met are amazing--they welcomed me from the beginning almost as one of them. Above all, I see in them fantastic women who make a difference in the world because they love everyone with the love of the heart of Christ. I think I will always be in awe of the way they live and share their lives with the world.

I'll have to finish this story later! It's getting near bedtime!

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