“I’m a pirate, after all.”

I always thought I was going to get married.  That’s not how most people would think discerning religious life would start, but that’s how my journey began.  I was in high school when a teacher, who was discerning the diaconate, planted the first seed when he said, “If you’ve ever ruled something out, just keep it on the back burner.”  I have no idea why I took this to heart except that it must have been an act of God because once I’ve made up my mind I can be kind of stubborn.  Fortunately, God kept nudging me and throughout college I began to slowly move toward the Sisters of Mercy although I didn’t know it at the time.

I wish my decision to pursue religious life was a single moment that I could describe to you but I grew into it, or maybe it would be more accurate to say it grew into me.  Either way it was a gradual process that was helped significantly by a group of students I met with in college.  We gathered together often and simply shared what was on our minds; the things that scared us, and the things that made us so excited for whatever God had planned for us!  I never knew I could feel both of those things at the same time and it was so much easier to be with people who were figuring this out as they went along just like I was.

It was during this time that I went on Mercy Challenge with others who were thinking about joining Mercy.  We spent the week in service to the poor of Sacramento, but the memory that sticks with me the most had nothing to do with that.  My vocation minister happened to be on this trip and one day she was showing me around the mother house when we happened upon an elderly sister who was lost.  She couldn’t remember where her room was, and seeing the care that my minister had for this sister that she had never met before has always stuck with me as a true example of what it means to be a sister, and to be merciful.

As I spent more time with the Sisters of Mercy the feeling of coming home became undeniable for me. The love and support I have received as I transitioned into community life, ministered as a chef at the local soup kitchen, and navigated the last few years has made me realize how wonderful and strong this family of women is. Now, as I look forward to the novitiate I value that support more than ever.

I have decided to start this blog to share my story, however strange and grammatically incorrect it maybe, in the hope that someone will find my experiences, and mistakes helpful in their own journey.  Oh, and the pirate thing… well I’ve always liked the sense of adventure and the desire to be counter cultural which just happen to be two attributes I see in religious life.  Not to mention the great hats!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elaine Deasy, RSM
    May 13, 2011 @ 11:34:59

    Mandy,
    I love your blog…but I hate to tell you, I’m already The Coolest Sister!!

    However, I love a challenge and you are pretty cool…

    Reply

  2. cssjnews
    Jul 09, 2012 @ 22:23:59

    Greetings,

    I’ve just started a blog for reflections on emerging religious life by younger women religious. It’s intended to be a collaborative blog, and I would like to invite you to consider contributing. You can forward a blog post in which you’re reflecting on how the life is emerging, particularly for the coming generations.

    See the Mystics & Prophets blog at http://mysticsandprophets.blogspot.com

    And consider sharing your reflection.

    Thanks,
    Amy Hereford, CSJ

    Reply

  3. cssjnews
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 20:28:07

    Great – whenever you’re ready you can:
    1. write a post for mystics and prophets and email it to me to post, or
    2. write a post here on emerging religious life issues. Then let me know (amyhereford@gmail.com) and I’ll link to your blog.

    Reply

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