College can be daunting because it requires a host of decisions. Which major to choose? Which career to pursue? Where to live? Whom to befriend? Whom to date? And, ultimately, what kind of person to become?
Catholic sisters are able to share wisdom with students at this pivotal juncture by telling the stories of their own discernment process. That’s exactly what a National Catholic Sisters Week mini-grant funded last year: a panel of women religious discussing their life choices.
Specifically, the event was a luncheon organized for women ages 18-30 to learn from Catholic sisters. It was hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur of Belmont, Calif., but included sisters from other communities. Those in attendance were able to ask questions of the sisters: How they discerned religious life, what surprised them about their vocations, what fulfills them. The sisters reflected on how to make major decisions and, moving forward, how to live with intention, according to your deepest values.
Sister Roseanne Murphy, SNDdeN, a professor emerita, led the effort to apply for an NCSW mini-grant. Sixty four years after becoming a sister, Sister Roseanne can still vividly recall her discernment process. It was her senior year of nursing school, and graduation was nearing. Friends were announcing engagements and planning weddings, but she felt drawn to another path. She prayed two novenas and found her answer: consecrated life.
“People always think you give up a lot becoming a sister,” she said. “They forget how much you are given. I am very grateful for it all and feel so blessed.”
Sister Donna Loretto Gunn, CSJ, describes her call to religious life in this SisterStory video. "I would cry for hours and just say: 'Don't make me do this!'"