Sister Nancy Dawson with YSU studentsDo you sense something missing in life? Is your work or life situation not meaningful enough despite your accomplishments and possessions? Could it be that the difference you make when you are helping people in need feels more life-giving than your work week? Do you feel more authentic when you give of yourself to help others? PAY ATTENTION! Perhaps you are being called to find purpose in life in another way, to do more with your life. These thoughts are ways in which God invites us to be and do “more” by becoming a Catholic religious sister or nun.

Introducing the idea of becoming a nun or sister may seem extreme to some and may even scare someone away. Being called was even startling for Mary. St. Luke writes that she was “deeply troubled,” and asked questions – wouldn’t you? This calling comes as a surprise to many. Most people can not envision themselves as a religious and most likely don’t know about the richness of a Catholic religious life vocation. Many think themselves unworthy of such a calling. Yet, women and men would not have been guided to explore this life had God not known what they would find there. For people with the courage to respond, it becomes a calling they will never regret answering.

How can you understand what God is calling you to do with your gifts when this unsettling feeling keeps surfacing? First, this feeling is how God gets our attention – it’s a nudge to peak our interest. Find time and space for private prayer where you can talk with God about these feelings and the purpose for your life.

Seeking your path through prayer will open the doors to a deeper understanding of the meaning of life and, with time, clarity will show the path God wishes you to choose. The most exciting part of our life here on earth is the uniqueness God has planned for each individual life. True fulfillment of your purpose in life is reached by building an ever deepening personal relationship with God. To accept God as your guide, you must open yourself up to God’s graces. As you move through this experience you realize the great love you are being gifted with. It is a love that has always been there for you. You will begin to understand God’s special call for you to love others as God loves you.

Devoting your entire life to God’s work ultimately requires living with God at the center of your life. It’s not always easy, yet living in tune with God’s desires for you ultimately leads to joy and happiness. This journey fills you with unbelievable love and quiet resolve in using your special gifts in a liberating, healing and compassionate way. And, you will be filled with a sense of belonging in community as you pray together.

The life of a Catholic nun or sister can take many twists and turns but one thing you can count on is that the purpose of your life as a religious will become very clear as God inspires you to help others. As told in the Bible, St. Luke spent most of his life following St. Paul and the other disciples as a doctor spreading the good news. Little did he know he would go on to write the books of Luke and Acts which make up almost one third of the New Testament. Following God’s guidance can take you on many unexpected and exciting journeys.

As you explore your purpose in life, continue to place your faith in Christ, and understand the significance of your decision to walk with Christ. When in prayer with God, always remember to stop and listen. Christ will reveal himself to you when you are ready. God has given everyone a passion for life, and will use yours to make a better world, if you allow him to. Consider becoming a Catholic sister, brother or priest.

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