I updated my vocation story on The Vocation Operation earlier and added this little section which I thought I’d share here. It’s the short story of how my serious discernment came about and how I got started with this blog!
It was some time in October 2011 when I read an article online about young women who were becoming nuns. The numbers were small but a growing number of young women were choosing religious life, the article said. I was transfixed. People still did that? And not just anyone, but women who were my age. I read that article over and over again. There was a short video, an extract from a documentary that would air soon. I watched that clip over and over. I was devastated when I missed the documentary but then someone told me it was still online on the channel’s website and I watched it immediately. Again, I was transfixed. I was blown away by it. The things these women were saying just spoke to me and I felt an instant empathy with it. It stirred again that desire in my heart and I felt that longing in a way I had never felt it before. I cried and cried because I could feel this deep tug in my own heart and I knew that this was something I had to seriously consider. It wasn’t the active communities I had researched before that drew me, I was captivated by the beauty of the cloistered life. That was the moment my serious discernment began.
I prayed and prayed. I researched orders again. I prayed some more. In a way I had never fully done before 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. I was at Daily Mass, having just been praying in Adoration and reading the Rule of St Benedict, and I cried silently as that immense joy filled me.
I left Mass that day and went into the narthex to take off my veil. There’s a little spot by the noticeboards where I always stop to take it off and put it back in my bag and get my headphones out. Coincidentally, or perhaps providentially, there was an older woman there changing the noticeboards. We started talking and found out she had been to the same university as me, many years before. She asked me what I wanted to do after university and for the first time in my life I answered “I’m thinking of becoming a nun.” As I talked about it with her I was so filled with joy and passion. That experience was what led me to start my blog, Emily Ann’s Corner.