By Sister Mary Kevin
If you think you couldn’t possibly have a vocation to consecrated life, if you think you absolutely don’t fit the model, (judging of course, by your love of the guys, your lack of really serious prayer, and whatever else doesn’t fit your vision of “the holy sister”), I would like to inform you that God will not be put in a box. A case in point is my own story of God’s ways.
Coming from a family with eight children we would sit around the dining room table and dream of what we’d be when we grew up, and then share those dreams with each other. Beginning with the youngest made me third in line: “I’m going to be a mother and have eight kids”, mouthing, of course, my present, limited experience of life, not marrying, you notice! Then came another brother’s dream followed by our elder sister who said: “I’m going to be a nun.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mother light up like a Christmas tree, and interiorly I reflected: “She didn’t do that when I said my dream. What’s with this ‘nun’ stuff?”
Eventually my sister entered the Adorers, so I was the only girl at home. I reasoned: “Well, this is a good chance to check out what’s so wonderful about being a nun.” So one day I announced: “You know, I think I’d like to be a nun!” And sure enough! The whole Christmas tree-neon lights effect was there to affirm my ‘decision.’ A wonderful ruse that got me lots of attention, and a safe ‘lie’ since I didn’t have to act on the announcement!
Eventually July 1st arrived and we traveled to Wichita to see our sister enter the novitiate. After the ceremony my dad, without telling me beforehand, took me to the novice director and said: “My other daughter would like to enter, too.” Oh! How much I desired the earth to open up and swallow me! No such luck! I couldn’t say I was lying, but what was the alternative? Save my skin, at all costs! In his explanation to the director, Dad had added: “If she doesn’t like it she can always come home.” I said, (with another bold-faced lie that eventually proved true) “You don’t have to worry about me, Dad. I’ll never come home!”
And so I entered the convent with such an un-discerned “vocation”, arriving at 3:00 a.m. after a long bus trip to Wichita. After a late sleep I began the day with the other candidates, and discovered how much I loved this new life. Now, sixty-two years later, after undreamed ministries, after unexpected world travel in the name of the Adorers, after moving through a million changes in Religious Life from Vatican I to the call of Vatican II, after serving with and to myriads of God’s culturally diverse people, after unnumbered hours in prayer, and after living with multiple Adorers in all kinds of communities, I can only invite all people: Come! Let us adore our faithful God who sees beyond our human shenanigans and brings God’s own dream into reality!
Moral of the story: God’s Truth can be made known in the most unlikely ways! Don’t limit the creativity of God.