Walking with Teen Solidifies Vocation

The question used to be why do you want to be a nun (a religious).  The answer was easy – because I love Jesus… Then it became why do you choose to say yes everyday to being a nun (religious)?  The answer still seemed easy – because I still love Jesus and I can do good work with Him and my sisters.

Then the work required a teenager living with us for 4 long years, and the question from the teenager became, what makes you different than anyone else who goes to church?  Then answer became: Because, you live here!!

Who would have ever imagined that a teenager would be the one to solidify my vocation!?  Not me!

Rebecca came to live with us 4 years ago.  As a 14-year-old in need of stability, rules, and some uncomplicated love.  She sure did make my prayer life an active one.  From someone who was once described as uncontrollable- hiding under desks, doing whatever she wanted, not being up to speed academically, to a well composed, almost poised, academically strong first year university student.  And we (Sr. Lise & I) were witness, punching bag, mother, father, teacher, and partner to her success.  

So, why I am telling you this?  Because as crazy as she made me (and it was a daily crazy) she solidified my vocation.  Without Rebecca in my life I would not be able to say with conviction that I AM A SISTER OF THE HOLY NAMES OF JESUS & MARY.  Without my community Rebecca would not be where she is today- The University of Carleton in Ottawa.

 Rebecca at her High School Grad

When I brought Rebecca home Sr. Lise said yes- sight unseen.  People asked, “Why”? and the only answer I have is, “It’s what we do”.  We serve, we help, we love unconditionally – which I have come to learn doesn’t mean it is without frustration.

So, if you are ever looking for a way to re-commit to your vocation, I recommend taking in a teenager or consider making the summer retreat with the younger-“ish” Canadian Religious.  Stay Tuned for details about the retreat… not getting a teenager – you have to get your own!

Article and photo by: Sr. Connie Harrington, SNJM

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