“They were to seek God, yes to grope for him and perhaps eventually to find him - though he is not really far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:27) As I was “seeking” what to do with my life after high school, I did consider the religious life as an option. However, I had always heard that one receives a special “calling” from God which affirms this choice and since nothing unusual happened to me, I assumed that God had other plans for me. It is also ironic in that while I was “seeking” and pursuing a nursing degree from the University of Nebraska that God did indeed direct me to the religious life.
I have always enjoyed school and learning new things; however, my Physiology class was proving to be quite challenging. I remember studying and praying particularly hard for an upcoming exam. After the BIG test, the professor gave us the answer key. I nervously waited until I got home to see how I fared. The amount of hard work and prayers that I put into this test were not reflected in my score. At that moment, I said to myself, “Maybe God doesn’t want me to be a nurse, maybe he wants me to be a nun!” At this point, I also felt an urge to call and talk with a nun.
I remember when I was young that Sr. Mary Philip, B.V.M. would come to St. Martins in Douglas to teach us a week of Summer Religion Classes. I also recall her asking at the end of each week, “Now who wants to be a nun or priest when they grow up?” I always raised my hand – never realizing that it just might happen!
My older sister and I shared an apartment near the Sacred Heart Church and I had seen Sr. Mary Philip there before; although we did not speak to one another. As I was looking at my test and pondering what to do next, I got the courage to call the Sacred Heart Convent. A sweet voice at the other end said, “This is Sr. Mary Philip speaking.” When I told her who I was I never imagined that she would remember me after all those years, so when she said, “Oh yes, and your mother, Theresa, how is she,” I about fell off my chair! The next day I met with Sr. Mary Philip and the following week she introduced me to the Marian Sisters. I had lived about thirty miles south of the sisters and I never realized they existed. That was back in the winter of 1989. The following Fall, I entered the Marian Sisters, and in 1997, I profess my Final Vows.
I am most grateful to Sr. Mary Philip for her prayers, support and example as she helped me to “seek and eventually find God.” Also, I will always treasure that phone call that changed my life!