I entered religious life when I turned 18 and right out of high school. I loved being a nun and being in the community. I came home on weekends and had a friend who invited me to attend a prayer meeting at St. Patrick’s church. I was blown away by what I witnessed – here were people loving and hugging one another. I was skeptical and afraid at first because we were taught in the convent not to show emotions or affection.
I continued to go to the meetings when I came home on the weekends and really began to love the community. I knew there was something there that I didn’t have. I can truly say that I met God at St. Patrick’s. I knew God in books and philosophy, but not in my heart. Now God was in my heart and I had a personal relationship with him.
After awhile, I knew I had to be there-that this is where I was going to grow closer to God. I approached the provincial of my religious order and asked if I could work in this parish and still remain a nun. This had never been done before so it was a huge leap of faith for me to even ask this. Much to my surprise, they said yes and I had their blessing.
I moved into Manna House (a group of dedicated women working for the parish) and worked as the Religious Education Coodinator for 7 years. As I grew and changed, I knew in my heart that I could no longer stay in the religious life. After much discernment and prayer I decided to leave the order after 20 years. Another step in faith because being in a religious order gave me safety and security. I got a job as a waitress in the neighborhood. I now needed to find a place of my own to live. I didn’t know what I was going to do and I had nothing to start a new life. I was terrified and the flood gates opened up. I cried out to God, please help me. I have no place else to turn. You have to help me.
The very next day, a woman approached me from the parish and told me that she heard I had left the convent. She proceeded to tell me that her father-in-law had just passed away and there was a house full of stuff that I could have it I wanted it. I went to the house that afternoon and couldn’t believe my eyes. A bedroom set, dining room set, kitchen stuff – everything I needed to start my new life.
What I learned in my heart that day was that God knew me better than I knew myself, that He wanted me to be happy and that he would provide for me in every aspect of my life. God has been faithful and He still provides for me and I am always in awe and gratitude for his faithfulness.
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