"Behold, I stand at the door and knock..." (Rev 3:20)
If anyone ever asks me: “Sister, how or when did you know you want to become a sister?”
I would tell them I never, ever thought of myself as becoming a sister (perhaps a fleeting thought during high school but never earlier). I always thought religious life is for holy people and not for me! BUT God works miracles in every soul and His call is different for each individual who live consecrated life. Every vocation, to me, has a unique story to it. Here is mine.
My vocation story began in 2008 when I attended Đại Hội Nghĩa Hiệp in Carthage, Missouri as a Youth Group Leader. My friends and I saw some nuns dressed in gray habits. This surprised me because I have only seen nuns in black and white habits, never gray. So I went up to the sisters and asked what order they belong to. They replied, “The Congregation of Mary, Queen.” One of the sisters added me as a friend on Facebook, but we never contacted each other. My story would have ended here if God did not have another plan for me.
Three years later the same sister, Sr. Faustina, made her first vows and contacted me, wondering if she could talk to me. A nun talking to me? To me, this could only mean one thing: She will ask me to enter religious life. In my mind, I knew I would tell her I am not interested in religious life. However, the more I talked to her, the more I wanted to know about religious life. I wanted to go to Marian Days to meet the sisters but found myself very busy. So I asked God for an opportunity if He really wanted me to meet them.
To my surprise, I was able to get a last minute seat (the last seat!) on the parish bus to attend Marian Days in 2011 to meet with the sisters. After that, I felt called to visit them again in Irving, TX to see if God really called me to consecrated life. So I again asked God if He wanted me to visit, to find me a reasonable price for the airplane ticket and to get time off from work. And again, God fulfilled my wishes, and I was able to spend time with the sisters for a week in January 2012. Sr. Janine, the vocations director at the time, told me that she thinks God is calling me and she asked me if I wanted to join in March, two months after I visited them.
When I came home, I wanted to see if God was really calling me. So, I told God: “If You want me to join the Congregation of Mary, Queen in March, please give me three signs.”
My first sign was to meet with Monsignor Voorhies (a family friend) to talk to him about what God wanted from me. When I called the office and asked if I could see Monsignor next week, the secretary told me that he was booked for 2 weeks. I was so happy because if I can’t see Monsignor, then I will tell the sisters I would not join in March. To my surprise, at 3pm on Friday, when I was doing the Divine Chaplet Mercy, Monsignor called and gave me a day that he can meet me the following week. My first sign was granted.
My second sign was very random. At Our Lady of Annunciation Church, there are two priests and two Masses: one Mass in the morning and the other is in the evening. One day, out of the blue, I told God: If Monsignor Voorhies celebrates Mass this evening; I will take it as my second sign. As soon as I was done saying that, Monsignor comes out and celebrates Mass. My second sign was granted.
One of my hesitations to join religious life was that all the sisters joined religious life when they were very young. I was already done with school and had a job, so I felt a little old to enter. However there was a sister who joined when she was about my age too. I wanted to talk to her but every time I called her, the other sisters told me she was busy and would return my call later, but she never did. And again, I asked God: God, I know You already give me two signs, but I asked for three and this will be my last sign – to talk to that Sister. If I don’t have this sign, then the other two signs do not count. So I called again and was told once again that Sister would call me back. I felt happy because I assumed this would be like the previous times, where Sister never returned my call, so I would not join in March.
Never put God to the test. As soon as I was done thinking this, the sister called me back. I asked for three signs and God granted me all three. Now it was my turn to fulfill my promise to Him. I joined the Congregation of Mary, Queen on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19 of that same year.
I thought I was just giving religious life a try but as time passed by, I learned to love and appreciate my vocation. I will never trade it for anything.
Don’t be afraid to ask God for signs if you are willing to do His will. He is a friend whom you can talk to.