This is almost more than I can take in.
Knowing it was impossible, I nevertheless asked God to do the impossible for me--if it was His will--and He has done it. I will never doubt again, or hesitate to ask Him for anything I feel is worthy, no matter how much it seems as though it could not ever happen.
I came back to the Church on November 19th, which was an incredible joy: however, I knew that I was going to have to bear the secret sorrow of knowing that I was meant to live a life consecrated to Him, but that it is simply too late and nothing could be done about that. It is entirely my fault that I am not living in a religious community right now, and I would have to accept the consequences and carry this Cross until death. I took a little comfort in knowing that my life would not go on that much longer--I will be 69 next week--and that the important thing is that I love and adore Him, and I am following Him to the best of my ability under my present circumstances.
Nevertheless, as I wrote the other day, the pain was so great, I finally could not resist asking that if there was any way I could live a consecrated life even now, would He please show me--and that I would do whatever He willed. After making this prayer for 2 nights, on the 3rd day while I was at Mass, when I knelt for the Consecration, I looked down and there was a piece of paper on the pew right in front of me which said SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF CONCORDIA KS at the top of it. Since I learned about the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Saturday night, I have spent many hours praying about it, and I am simply unable to believe that this is not His answer to me: it was too much to be mere coincidence.
I have now met with one of their Vocation Directors, and she strongly encouraged me to consider joining their Community. I felt completely comfortable with her, and she with me: I think I could be my true and honest self living among them--which was definitely not the case when I was with the Nashville Dominicans. At that time, I was aware that I was remaking myself in order to fit in, and it took me nearly six years to accept that this was not right, not what God would want.
One of the things that I have come to appreciate so much in my relationship with Jesus, is that I do not have to pretend with Him at all. No self-censoring, no worries about how He might react to what I need to say to Him, no wondering if He is tired of me telling Him how much I love Him, no fear that if he really knew me He would reject me: because he DOES know me--totally--and He loves me anyway! Sister Dian talked to me today about the analogy to this in religious life, and she is so right: this is the essence of what God wants for you in consecrated life as well: for you to be able to live your life fully, as your deepest and truest self--because it's impossible to be afraid and happy all at the same time--those two emotions are simply not compatible.
I now know what the path forward would be, in order to become a member of their Congregation. I am going to follow it, hoping that when I meet the leaders of the community in Kansas in June, that they will be willing to accept me for candidacy and I can begin preparing to make the vow of fidelity to that Congregation as an agrégée Sister*. If anyone is reading this, please pray for me. +