Since my discernment obviously did not suddenly start when I started this blog, I wanted to go back and tell the story of how I got to this point.
First, the story of my faith. I was not baptised as an infant – my mother is Anglican and my father Catholic so they decided to let me and my sister decide for ourselves what church we would follow. As children, we attended an Anglican church but were sent to Catholic school (it was the only private school). At 8 years old I decided to become a Catholic. Four years later, I was baptised and a year later took my First Communion. I will admit that after that I sort of fell away. We had just moved to England, my parents had separated so I was the only Catholic. At that age I didn’t really understand the importance of going to Mass and was really too shy and afraid to go alone, so I didn’t go. Another three years later, we moved overseas again. My mother met a Catholic woman at work who, upon discovering I was Catholic, offered to take me to Mass with her. She did so for the next two years until I went to university and a year after that when I was back for the holidays (after that my family returned to England). She was a real blessing to me. I had never been confirmed so she helped me apply for RCIA, came with me to classes and was even my sponsor since my godparents could not be there. I was confirmed at 17. When I came to university, I will admit my faith slipped. The church was very far from me, over an hour to walk and I couldn’t afford the bus. The next year when I moved closer I started attending more regularly but struggled with a fear of confession (I have now gotten over it). But over time I started attending regularly again. And that is where I am now.
As far as discernment goes, the desire has been there for many years. I can’t remember when it first came but I know I just thought “What? I can’t become a nun!” It seemed like such a ridiculous idea. I know when I was in RCIA I actually asked how one became a nun because I didn’t have any idea. I suppose now that curiosity then was the first seeds of my vocation. At 16 or so though, I hardly wanted to become a nun. So I pushed it away and forgot about it. Like that’d work! God had other ideas. Later on, the idea came to me again. It still terrified but I tried to bargain with it. “Okay, let’s just say I did become a nun, but I’d do some kind of work like teaching, I don’t want to be cloistered.” We’d visited a cloistered Carmelite community and spoke to one of the nuns there and the idea seemed so alien. I couldn’t live that life, I decided, hence my decision I’d join apostolic order. Note that’s my decision, at this stage it was all about my terms. After that I said to myself and others “I thought about religious life but I decided it wasn’t for me.” Again, I decided, it wasn’t about what God was calling me to do but what I wanted. Again, not what God had in mind! Looking back on it I can see the calling for cloistered life was there, I just was unwilling to respond to it. But eventually, finally, I opened my heart to God’s will and said to Him, “Let not my will be done but Yours. I live only to do your will, I surrender my will to you and place myself entirely in your hands.” And there it was, as it always had been, my calling. Finally no fear, no bargaining, no denial, just a deep and undeniable calling. There are nuns and sisters who find their calling in some mystical experience, a heavenly voice literally calling them. For me, the calling was much more internal. It was a feeling of indescribable joy and the simple knowledge that this was what the Lord wanted for me.
That joy and that simple knowledge haven’t gone away. My vocation is to be a nun. It’s as simple as that. I could have gone on denying it but I know that then my life will be never as fulfilled as it will be when I can finally become a nun. I think about entering as a postulant, and then becoming a novice and receiving a habit and my new name and eventually taking my solemn vows and I can’t wait.