I haven't written anything in awhile because it feels as though life has been going so fast lately! I went to Concordia, Kansas June 9-12th to stay with the Sisters of St. Joseph. It was an amazing visit. To be absolutely truthful, I was afraid I would not like them: my attitudes toward religious orders had always been so conservative, and I knew they were not: how could I possibly fit in with them?
Well, guess what? God doesn't make mistakes. When He sent me there, He knew exactly what He was doing. I loved them. They loved me. I want to say, "Why didn't I find them 25 years ago," but sadly, I know the answer to that, and it does not reflect well on me. Twenty-five years ago, I would never have considered them, because they do not wear habits, and I was totally hung up on that back then.
When you learn a little bit about the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph, the fact that they do not wear habits makes perfect sense. They were founded to be a community of women who worked out among their local communities, dressed just like other people. And, as I reflect on their charism, it seems to me that what they are essentially doing, is following Jesus' command to all Christians in its very essence--stripped of everything that is not necessary--so that they have no barriers or distractions from a life completely devoted to service of Jesus, by service to others. It's so simple. Simple, not complicated. But, of course, very hard. And it's exactly what I want, what I feel I was born to do.
Because the leaders of the Congregation are very open, they allowed us aspirants to sit in on all the Community meetings, so--rather than just merely social encounters with them--we had a chance to hear them speaking from their hearts about their own missions, and talking about what they had observed about the work of other Sisters. It was very beautiful to see how completely devoted to God they are, and I could not help but think, "I want to be with people like this!" Yes: I feel like I have found "my" people at last.
Since I had to leave before any of the other "Come and See" participants, I was interviewed by the President of the Congregation, Marcia Allen, and the incoming President, Jean Rosemarynoski the first day I was there. They were so kind to me, and verbally told me that if I wanted to come, that I should waste no time in starting the formation program--which made me extremely happy!
Sister Dian, one of the Vocation Directors--and the first Sister I met--is bringing home some of the materials I will be studying during the two-year formation program. I can hardly wait to get started!