Sister Marie John Paul
I first heard the call to religious life when I was 19 years old. I was living in Georgia where I had been living for about 5 years and had just finished my first year of university as a music major. Before this point I had had no contact or exposure to religious sisters. The most I knew about religious life came from watching The Sound of Music and stories from my mother of what the sisters were like at her high school.
While at Mass one weekend my parish was praying for vocations, as they do every weekend; but this time was different. Usually I wouldn’t pay too much attention to these petitions, but this time I thought to myself; “I wonder what kind of person they are praying for to do this sort of thing? It would have to be someone probably in their 20’s or 30’s. But it would most likely be one of those people who are really involved in Church activities… I could never do that sort of thing.” As soon as this thought was out I heard a voice inside me ask “what makes you so sure about that?” I wasn’t very deep into my prayer life, but I knew enough not to argue with God, or to say no without a good reason. I wanted to run out the church at that very moment; but this was also not the right thing to do. So I decided to go home and research this thing called religious life, and then come up with 5 or 6 good reasons why it was not for me. Then I could let my conscience rest and go on with my plans for my life. So I went home and Googled how to be a nun, and about every other search term I could think of. Within about a weeks’ time, the idea was beginning to appeal to me. In fact the more I looked into it the more I liked it. It seemed like it was the fulfilment of everything I had been looking for in life. By the end of just a few months I was so filled with joy when I thought and prayed about it that I realized clearly that this was what God was asking of me. So I said yes. From that time on I have never doubted that I had a religious vocation.
I thought the work was over, because I didn’t think there could be too many communities to choose from, after all I had never seen sisters before, so there couldn’t be that many communities… wrong. I would spend hours online looking at different communities, and found the courage to contact a few. I visited 3 communities and then I found the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate. I was attracted to them initially because the sisters pray the complete rosary every day, something I had greatly desired to do when I initially started discerning. The sisters also had a strong devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist and lived community life. They also wore the full habit and were loyal to the Magisterium of the Church. I went on a 4 day visit with them, and felt that this was where God was calling me. I came back for a week visit a few months later and received my application. I kept to my resolution and entered in September of 2010. I am eternally grateful for this vocation God has given me. I could not imagine a more joyful life.