I hope that this finds you well, wherever you might be. I write this in Toronto Airport very, very early in the morning (it's 6:49 AM as I'm writing this, meaning it's 3:49 AM back home in Vancouver!), and yet I still feel incredibly energized.
I'm thankful that I was able to get some time off of work so that I could spend some time in Toronto to visit friends and interview some very special guests for future episodes of The Feminine Genius Podcast — God has been SO GOOD in helping to line up these connections, and I can't wait to share these conversations with you because I know that they, like the women that have already been on the podcast, will continue to inspire you!
But I'm here in Toronto for more than just interviews and vacation — and this is where I would love some prayers from you!
This weekend, I will be spending some time in intentional, vocational discernment with the Daughters of St. Paul. A few months back, after a very fruitful conversation with the wonderful Sr. Helena Burns of the Daughters of St. Paul, I was further encouraged to really take the time to consider the vocation of religious life, a beautiful vocation that many women are called to by God.
Prior to this, I had been very set on marriage and starting a family— which, in itself, is another beautiful vocation, but not all women are called to it. I suppose it was due to a lack of exposure to sisters and nuns that led me to believe that marriage was the only way, and that not being married would mean a life that is incredibly lonely.
Admittedly, my previous relationships reflected this unfounded fear of loneliness as well as the lies that I was telling myself, that my identity and self-worth relied on my ability to attract men and stay in stable relationships. This is something that, quite honestly, I had no experience in. I had dated plenty, but nothing about any of the relationships reflected back to God. Rather, it was an experience to try and prove a point and to ensure that I didn't end up all alone.
Even up until my time on mission in Panama this past January — which amazingly enough was only 9 short months ago — I was convinced that I was called to marriage. I was convicted that this was my vocational calling. But very quickly, my spiritual director at the time called me back to Earth with the simple statement that one can't discern marriage if they aren't in a relationship. I saw this to be true, and since I wasn't in a relationship at the time, it occurred to me that this might be a good time to look into the thing that I was afraid of, and that was religious life.
I'm not kidding when I said that I was, and maybe still am, afraid of religious life. I think there are many lies and wounds that are wrapped up in that, beginning with the falsity that my sins discount me from this vocation, or that not getting married means that I will be lonely forever. But I wanted to give this a chance and I wanted to devote some time to God to be intentional about it, which is why I decided back in April of this year to be intentionally single, focus on my spiritual growth, and give my heart to listening for a call.
And so here I am, in an airport very early in the morning, humbly asking you for your prayers!
To be sure, going on this weekend retreat does not mean that I will become a nun! However, I'm opening myself up to the possibility and giving God the chance to speak into the depths of my heart and call me, if that is His will for me.
Listening and understanding the will of God is hard, and so I ask for the grace to really put aside the things that don't matter this weekend and instead forcus on God and what He wants. I can feel my heart pounding out of my chest as I write that simple prayer! Because once you open the door just a little to the will of God, He will take it and use it for His glory. All we have to do is give a little bit. He won't force us or push us, but He will work with us. And little by little, these simple responses of "yes" will culminate into His greater plan.
Wherever you might be at this stage of your life, whether your discerning what to do next or perhaps what God might be calling you to do, I urge you to take some time to really listen and consider it. Have faith knowing that God has something special planned for you, and that you are crucial to His overarching plan for salvation history. You matter!
Many thanks for your prayers, and if you could keep myself, the other young women at the retreat, and all the sisters who will be sharing their time with us in your prayers as well, that would be wonderful!
Blessed James Alberione and Venerable Thecla Merlo, pray for us!
PS: a brand new episode will be out this week, thanks to the magic of technology!