Our New Postulants
On August 28, the feast of St. Augustine whose Rule the Dominican Order uses, we welcomed our new Postulants! How exciting is this! And they emulate this prayer written by St. Augustine:
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
I grew up in a good Catholic family with 5 younger siblings, and Religious Life was always an option for me. During my junior year of high school when we were talking about vocations, I felt a little spark of interest in my heart and I was attracted to the idea of giving my life to God, although I couldn’t yet see myself as a Sister. On a pilgrimage to Lourdes that summer, the priest with us asked if I had ever considered a religious vocation, and this made me determined to seriously pray about it. During senior year, I applied to and visited multiple colleges, but none of them seemed right despite having everything I wanted, and it was distracting me from discerning. Soon enough I was encouraged to go on a discernment retreat with the Sisters here in Ann Arbor. This brought Religious Life back into my mind, and the Lord began to show me how happy I would be as a Sister! When I went on retreat it became clear to me that God was calling me to put aside my fears and say yes to Him now, and not after college. I felt so at home with the Sisters, I just knew this was the Order for me!
Growing up in a Catholic family, I always had two options, get married, or be a nun. When I was in eighth grade a group of the Nashville Dominicans came to my school and gave a retreat. I was fascinated by these beautiful Sisters, who were so young and joyful. That summer my family had the opportunity to tour their Motherhouse. I found myself saying over and over: “That’s so me!” The life that they lived was so attractive, and throughout high school the idea of being a sister never left. As Jesus slowly wooed me, I realized how much I wanted to give my life to Him, and how much he wanted to fulfill my desires. Just before my junior year, Sr. Joseph Andrew gave a talk at my parish. I was lit on fire once more with the desire to live for Him forever. The charism of the Sisters of Mary became so attractive, and Ann Arbor felt so much like home. All of the doors seemed to fly open before me, and before I knew it I was asking for my application papers! It seems at times I might burst with joy, and I am so grateful to Him who first loved me!
I came to realize my vocation when I was talking to my friends about MY plans for my future. Last summer, I was talking with one of my friends and she said how she wished she could be a Sister, but she realized her vocation was to be a wife and mother. I agreed with her, but then felt God tugging at my heart, saying “Hey, we never really discussed your vocation before.” I was then more open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit throughout my sophomore year of college, as I slowly began to realize that I would only find true joy and fulfillment in being Christ’s alone. In February, I was talking to another friend, and I mentioned how discerning was nice because it allowed me to grow closer to God and how I had 2 more years of discernment because I wasn’t planning on dropping out of college to enter a convent. After saying that I felt God speak to my heart again, saying “What is stopping you from entering now?” I signed up to go on the April 2018 retreat with the Dominicans of Mary, where my older sister was a postulant, and I realized God was calling me NOW! I could not be filled with more joy to be entering!
Growing up, I always had a religious disposition: loving Mass, the Rosary, Adoration, Religious Ed class; I desired an authentic relationship with God. Not knowing anything about Religious Life, after my freshman year of high school, I went on a retreat, and the host told a story of when he spent time with some sisters– how they witnessed the love of Christ just by who they were. Upon hearing this story, I felt a burning in my heart that I wanted to witness Christ in the same way– I wanted people to see him and not me, just like Our Lady. From then on, I kept religious life in the back of my mind as I went through high school, but I could never shake the desire to give myself radically to Christ, which became stronger and stronger throughout college. In my junior year, I finally went on a discernment retreat and surrendered to the call of Christ, saying ‘yes’ to follow him with my whole heart. With that act of surrender, I felt such deep peace, joy, and excitement for whatever the Lord had in store for me. Then, after visiting the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, that same peace of Christ followed and I knew that this could be my home and my life of continuously saying yes to Christ and being a witness of his love.
In the depths of my heart I have always known that I was made for something the world cannot give me. In high school I started diving deeper into my faith through the Teens Encounter Christ program in my diocese, but I wanted more. My faith was tested in college and I started yearning for more answers about our Catholic Faith. Through my exploration of our faith and many hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I felt a deep call to Religious Life. God’s great grace and love led me to the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist at St. Jude in Peoria, Illinois. This past February, I trudged through a snow storm with a group of young women from Peoria to the “Be Not Afraid” discernment retreat. At this retreat I felt as if my heart would explode with joy! I am so blessed to have a supportive family that protects and loves my “YES!” and I am extremely excited for this great adventure God has in store for me!
Fairlawn, New Jersey
Sadly, I entered college without any desire of living my Catholic faith. Instead, I dove into my life’s desire of achieving academic and worldly success. My first year at Purdue University looked good on paper but I was miserable, with a growing emptiness inside. Luckily, God blessed me with genuine friends who invited me to Mass and eventually convinced me to attend the Boiler Awakening retreat. On this retreat before the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus lit my heart on fire and asked if I would accept His love, letting Him carry my brokenness. From that moment, even with all of my stumbling and failures I could not ignore the fact that He is the only Truth. Over the next three years I fell in love with Christ in the Eucharist through the gentle guidance of Our Lady of the Rosary. The more time I spent in the chapel, all I could hear from the bottom of my heart was “I am calling you to Myself”. After a visit from Sr. Joseph Andrew, I signed up for the vocation retreat my Senior year, and with the Sisters praying for me, I finally had the courage to say YES, knowing that my home is in the Heart of Jesus with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.
I am what you would call a procrastinator, at least in the realm of discernment. I had known for many years that God was calling me to a vocation in Religious Life but I really dragged my feet; so by the time I finally decided to take this vocation seriously I had a lot of work to do. I had joined the U.S Air Force right out of High school and got to travel across the United States meeting great and wonderful communities of religious sisters along the way. But none of them ever really connected to my heart on a deeper level, and I was left wondering is this was really where I was called to. Then in March of 2017 I was introduced to a couple of sisters from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist and as they described their Community and the different practices like True Devotion, daily Eucharistic adoration, and the nature of a Dominican heart my own heart resonated in a way it never had before with any other Community. I began to seriously discern and after sometime came to the understanding that this is where God has called me to be, and while my service in the military was a good experience, my heart, ultimately was meant for a different type of service.
Beginning with my sophomore year in college, my life has been led greatly by the Holy Spirit. Through Moorhead Catholic Campus Ministries was nurtured an initial love and desire to grow deeper in my Faith. After graduating from college, by God’s grace I became a teacher at St. Joseph’s School. My first year of teaching was filled with an abundance of joy, purpose, and fulfillment; however, amidst all the joy surrounding me, there was something missing and tugging at my heart. I knew that this something was Religious Life, but I didn’t know when or where to enter. I also discovered and began to TRUST in a father’s love, especially our Heavenly Father’s love for me, His beloved daughter.
I received grace upon grace through three words – Tenderness, Truth, and Trust. My answer came in prayer when I read from the Gospel of John, “But I tell you the TRUTH, it is better for you that I go.” This was all I needed to take the leap of faith to join the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. My soul magnifies the Lord for inviting me to be wholly His and giving me the courage to joyfully answer ‘YES’!
My story is simply one that shows Christ’s love never gives up! I grew up in the Faith but haven’t always understood what it means to truly love and to be loved. Yet God is good, and I have had so many opportunities to experience His love for me. My discernment has been a series of big and small promptings from God to give more and more of my heart to Him. After school, jobs, and countless moves God led me to work at Maggie’s Place, a beautiful organization in the heart of the desert, and there I learned what it means to rely on His Divine Providence! The women I worked with showed me how to give everything in the name of Love and then lean on God when you cannot give any more. In this school of Love, Christ tenderly removed the barriers in my heart and I felt Him calling me to dedicate myself to His love in Religious Life. I am grateful to all the people God has placed in my life who have shown me what it means to offer all in the name of Love!
Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
I have been blessed in life to grow up in a Catholic family and to have known Jesus in an intimate and personal way since I was young. During my first year of university I met a campus movement in Canada called Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO). It was through a mission I did with them in 2014 that I had a profound conversion of heart. I was affirmed in my call to holiness and also realized the great desire to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. During this mission I also met my great aunt, Sr. Mary Rita, SSA. One afternoon she shared with me her vocation story of being a Sister for 70 years and the joy she experienced everyday being in love with Jesus and bringing his love to others. This opened my heart to a possibility of a religious vocation. Over the next 4 years I journeyed with the Lord through the sacraments, spiritual direction, and discipleship. This year I was teaching 6th grade at a wonderful Catholic school, but had such a thirst for something more. In February the Spirit led me to a retreat with this Community and long story short, I received papers to enter such a beautiful Community!
Mount Pleasant, Texas
About three years ago, after being shown the fullness of life in Christ by a FOCUS missionary and being loved and guided by the community at Baylor University’s St. Peter Catholic Student Center led by Fr. Daniel Liu, Jesus began to reveal to me a call to Religious Life. My response was “Lord, I’m scared!” This began a beautiful journey of letting the Lord into the deepest parts of my heart and life, allowing Him to show me that He is a good Father who takes care of His children perfectly and will never lead us astray. This journey led me to serve as a campus missionary with FOCUS, which God used to help me open up my heart to let Him replace my fear with joy, trust, and true freedom in His love. This freedom allowed me to see He isn’t taking anything away by calling me to Religious Life, but rather, He’s giving me the gift of becoming who I was created to be! I am humbled and thankful to receive this gift, and am excited for this next chapter of the journey of growing in His love with the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist!
Elk Grove, California
I didn’t grow up with an understanding of the Catholic faith or in an environment to foster that development. Since God wasn’t the center of my life, I diverted to a life of sin. However, there was a turning point in my life when the lack of fulfillment made me thirst for truth. This propelled me to learn about my faith, where God was merciful and faithful in drawing me to a life of holiness. I never thought that the religious life was ever a path for me, but the more I grew in my understanding of God’s self-gift and love, it moved me to be more Christ-like. As God patiently moved my intellect, will, and heart to desire Him more, he showed me how beautiful and meaningful the religious life is. He also knows my indecisiveness and desire to be faithful, so He put Sr. Joseph Andrew in my path to give me that nudge to have the courage and trust to walk in faith. Not only that, the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist is such a beautiful community that no matter how much I wanted to find reasons to run away, it still attracted me all the more. I have peace in knowing that He is calling me to this beautiful life and I have the opportunity to say “Yes” today and trusting in His grace in all that is to come.