When I was younger, had I been a Catholic at the time, I may have chosen the religious life as I was always attracted to it. I did become a Catholic! I married and had a family. I was happy and content.
Years later with the kids grown and the grandchildren coming along... I was called to leave my teaching job that I loved to care for a grandchild or two, then to care for my mother with Alzheimer's.
Life brings many callings that we can scarcely plan for. God must have known my servant's heart, after all He gave it to me and He placed me in positions to serve others.
I still care for my mother, am still married... the grandkids are teens now... time opened up for me... I had been reading books on Mother Teresa, so much more there than the media coverage of her! Again that yearning came to me, I would have loved to have joined her Order. Could I? Could I be a lay MC? I looked into it... not likely as I live thousands of miles from the nearest Community.
The thoughts didn't go away however. I realized that each Order has it's own Charism... what was it I wanted to do, felt called to do, really and truly? Serve! I have always served! And who did I wish to serve? I prayed... a lot!
I was greatly called by Our Blessed Mother. She interceded for me in a very profound way after praying for her help. How could I serve Our Lady and Jesus and others? The next events are rather mystical, I'm not sure how to explain. One loses track of where one's own thoughts go and where God's intersect!
Somehow I found myself writing to the Servite Order in Chicago. The next thing I knew there was a phone call from a lady in my own town (small town) from my own parish and she was the Prioress of the Order of Secular Servants of Mary... and they were part of the entire family of Servites... the Friars, the Monastery and the Sanctuary, the meeting place... the entire thing was only 30 minutes from my home!
You could have knocked me over with a feather! How did I live here all these years and not even notice what Order was so nearby? Because the time was not right. When it was right, the door opened before me!
To make a long story shorter, I am now a Secular Servite Sister. Was it easy? No! I thought this would be a breeze seeing as how it almost leapt into my lap! Again, I had no way of knowing what I would be called for... I just said to God, 'use me as You will' and He is doing that even now.
I found there are challenges like everywhere else. There are grouchy people to deal with, different styles of doing things... What is the real meaning of Obedience? Witness to Poverty? Chastity in one's station of life? Can I do what tasks are given, not what I prefer? Humility? What does that really mean? Can I chose the peaceful path if it means I give up being 'right' in a situation? Can I keep silent, not voice a complaint if it were to hurt another? Can I live in Community with others? All are challenges of this sort of life. In the case of a Secular Order, we have all those 'family' issues and still live in the world with our own 'family' issues!
And yet each day I am so very grateful to face those challenges, knowing that I was called and the Voices who called are there to back me up. It's like marriage, not easy but if you are in it for the long haul (married 1972) you rely upon God's graces, prayer, faith, hope, love... and the rewards are not at all what you imagined when you began the journey, they are deeper than your imagination could have created on it's own! It's the same with the vocation. It continues to unfold in ways I never could have dreamed. It's blended into my entire life so that now everything I am is as a Servite. It's a state of being more than the doing. It's brought Grace and Faith to all the other areas of my life.
God found a way for me to serve Him in many areas. Each day I pray the same, Today grant me the mind to know Your will for me, grant me the grace and charity to carry it out, thank you for all You have blessed me with.
Pray to Our Blessed Mother to arrange the details of your life, to put you in service to her Son. She wants nothing more than to answer that prayer for you. Trust in her.
May Our Beautiful Mother grow a garden of roses in your heart, may she stand by your side and point the way to her Son.
Mary Teresa, OSSM