Seven Years Ago...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Seven years seems like so long ago now. I was a shy freshman in college, a Spanish major who had no idea what she wanted to do with her life, who was thinking about religious life but afraid to tell anyone.

At a retreat before the start of my freshman year, I met a Daughter of Charity, Sr. Anne. I had no idea that months later, she would invite me to a discernment retreat. (To this day, neither of us know why she invited me or why she was so intent on me going that she had the Lily Grant pay the registration fee.) And I really had no idea what an important role she would play in my vocation story.
Not the retreat I went on, but close enough.
On another note, why does St. Vincent look so mean?

I also had no idea how important that retreat so long ago in March 2004 would be either.
And how funny God is.

There were two Sisters on that retreat - Sister Elizabeth, who was the vocations director, and Sister Denise. Both of them, in their own ways, really got me to realize that Sisters are real people, that I'm not weird for even considering the idea. That retreat really brought me on a new path during discernment. I very gradually opened up to more people about my discernment, I started investigating more and started praying more.

But, as the years passed, Sister Elizabeth and Sister Denise became memories. I never saw them again.

Now, here I sit in a recliner in Georgia, laughing about how funny God is. Life has truly come full circle. Those Sisters I didn't see for seven years now play such an important part of my lives. When I started re-discovering the Daughters this year, it turns out that Sister Denise was the vocations director. At first, perhaps because it had been so long since we had seen each other, I didn't even realize that she was the same Sr Denise as that 2004 retreat. Now, I can't imagine being here without her....she's the one I email with thoughts or call with transition frustrations and she's the one that comforts me and brings me back to earth. And Sister Elizabeth? After seven years of not seeing her, I now see her every day. She's my housemate, lives just a bedroom away.

I'm sure all three of us have changed since that retreat. Yet I don't know about them but, in 2004, I certainly didn't imagine myself in central Georgia, teaching, preparing for a life of a Daughter of Charity, following in the footsteps of two other discerners on that retreat (now Sister Liz and Sister Cecelia)....yet now, seven years later, I can't imagine myself anywhere but here.

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