My God, My All
1963…near London, England: a pleasant teaching job…good salary…a house … independence… concerts…theater…travel...
August: short visit to the Sisters of the Community of St. Francis in Somerset. What for? Just to give a helping hand to those poor, benighted souls shut away from real life, and then back home.
Two weeks later: a sudden, unexpected desire to be part of that group of dedicated, poor, joyful, normal women. What! Me? A nun?
A year of questions, prayers, more visits, conversations and finally IN.
October 1964: although somewhat unprepared for such a change of lifestyle, I entered with joy and excitement, firmly trusting that God had given me a Religious Vocation. God certainly calls in many different ways and there has to be a response — “no,” “yes,” “perhaps in a few years.”
A “yes” to God’s initial call is inevitably followed sooner or later by doubts – “I don’t think I have a vocation.” Sometimes the reasons for this uncertainty are clear and they have to be faced. Equally there may be no obvious reasons. My time of questioning was not precipitated by anything particular and I was encouraged to stay put. One of our Franciscan Brothers, worried by doubts, talked to the Mother of our Community who reminded him of the words of Jesus, “You have not chosen me; I have chosen you.” And in gratitude we respond with recommitment and faith.
In some ways Religious Vocation is an on-going process; we are called to new ways of service or ministry, to a deeper prayer life, a fuller use of our gifts and talents, to an appraisal of how we are living out our vows and assuredly to constant metanoia and penitence.
2008 San Francisco, California, USA: my life in community has brought opportunities and privileges beyond my imagining; it has been enriched through experiences good and bad, through friendships and challenges. For so much, remembered and forgotten, I am deeply grateful; for faults, failings and mistakes, I am sorry; for the love of the Blessed Trinity in which I am enfolded, I give thanks and praise.
Although my initial call had little to do with Francis, my spirituality has been nurtured by the life, example and teaching of the “little poor man of Assisi” and my desire is to journey with him in his prayer: “My God, my All.”