March 2012: Will You Come?
The Lord first drew me to Himself, two years earlier in Texas, between the prairie grass and a glistening night sky. He called me out of my sinful distractions, and back towards His infinitely tender Heart.
Ever since then, I’d sought the Lord more and more. I came each week for Adoration and Mass. I volunteered for the youth group and prayed the Rosary each day. Still, the Lord hadn’t asked too much of me yet.
Then in March 2012, during retreat with the Sisters of Saint Cecilia, He finally proposed the question: will you come?
He whispered it each morning as I rose to pray. He asked me gently as I knelt before Him in Adoration. He'd nudge me on my walks in the Kentucky countryside.
Mary, will you come?
I wasn’t ready yet. I couldn't see the road ahead. There was no plan. But what did that matter, if Jesus wanted me?
Yes, Lord, I promised Him. Just show me the way.
April 2012: On a Mission
My “yes” filled my heart with joy. I was on a mission now, to find the right convent, the right fit for me. The first step of my journey was a five-hour drive to Saint Louis, Missouri, for a chance to meet one of the Apostles of the Interior Life.
The Apostles are a group of consecrated virgins who serve as spiritual directors in Europe and America. Their mission is to help others grow in "an interior life and personal relationship with God by means of spiritual friendship". I loved their calling within the Church, and admired their unique, balanced way of life.
I also researched a few cloistered communities, including the Benedictine Sisters in Missouri, a contemplative order who sew priestly vestments and live on a farm. Everything about their community sounded great—until their vocational director told me, “Breakfast is optional.” I politely asked a few more questions, but after our conversation ended, I sadly crossed the Benedictines off my list. In order to maintain a healthy weight, I needed three hearty meals a day. I could fast, but not in the rigorous manner that these holy sisters did.
So which religious community should I choose, then? The Apostles of the Interior Life, or the Sisters of Saint Cecilia?
May 2012: Like A Box of Chocolates
I clicked back and forth between their two websites, then rifled through the papers and brochures I had received from both communities. Would I rather become a teacher, or a spiritual director? A Dominican sister in a habit, or a consecrated virgin in laywoman’s clothes? Belong to a congregation of 300 women, or a small, tightknit community?
I fretted over these questions on the phone with a friend, Father Robert.
“The Apostles of the Interior Life are awesome, Mary,” he said, with his usual buoyant enthusiasm. “But the Dominican Sisters are wonderful, too. It’s not like you’re choosing between a good choice and a bad one.”
I leaned forward on my parent’s couch, soaking in every word of wisdom I could get.
“It’s more like choosing a truffle from a box of chocolates,” Father Robert finished. “Whatever you choose, it’s going to be really good.”
“So, no matter what I choose…it could be the right choice?” I asked, feeling relieved.
“It will be a good choice,” he confirmed. “Just keep listening to the Holy Spirit!”
Thanks so much for reading! Join me next week as I choose which convent to enter! Also, learn what things were hardest for me to give up before entering religious life.
About the Author:
Mary Rose Kreger lives in the metro Detroit area with her family, where she writes fantasy tales for teens, and blogs about her spiritual journey: before, during, and after the convent. Mary also shares faith-based poems and fantasy quotes on her Instagram account, @faithandfantasy1.