Sister Teresa Joseph
Toronto, Ontario Perpetually Professed
I think the idea of religious life slowly entered my subconscious when I was 13 years old and was preparing for Confirmation with my grade 8 class. We were told to research the life of a saint. Well I chose St. Teresa of Avila and I just fell in love with her and all the nuns simply because they loved Jesus. However, I did not believe this life would be for me. It was for those who were very holy and maybe even a saint one day. I could never give up everything like they did and live only among women for the rest of my life! No way!
Well I shoved the idea of consecrated life to the back of my head and did not think of it again until I was about 17 or 18 years old and was deciding which University to attend and what area of study I wanted to major in. All I could think of at that point in time was that I just wanted to give my life to Jesus. That's all I wanted to do. I talked with my Spiritual Director who gave me some advice and information but again I eventually pushed the idea to the back of my mind once again. Living that kind of life was just beyond my capability-No way, forget it! I had dated a couple of times but even while I was dating I had this strong urge to give myself completely to Jesus. The desire to be married never weakened but this desire to give all to Jesus was beginning to be too strong to ignore.
Finally in August of 2003, I went on a weekend retreat. On the Saturday of the retreat I went to confession and lo and behold, for my penance I was told to say 3 Hail Mary's for my vocation...a penance that had nothing to do with my confession. Kicking and screaming inside, I went before the Our Lord in the exposed monstrance to pray for my vocation. By the end, about 45 minutes later, I really felt like God was asking me to become a sister-to be His bride-and I said yes.
How did I know at that moment what life God was calling me to? Well it wasn't that I heard any audible voice but it had been a culmination of Jesus' subtle and not so subtle hints as to the life He was calling me to. By the time I got to that retreat all I needed was one more gentle tug on my heart.
That was the easy part...next came the decision as to which Order I would live out this call to be a Bride of Christ. I researched a few different Orders and narrowed it down to about three. The Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate was the one I finally chose. Now this was not due to their apostolate which is a beautiful one (teaching the Faith correctly and courageously), since there are other who also teach. Instead, this community won my heart by their prayer life. I feel that God has chosen this community to be my home because individually and together they strive with all their heart to live the religious life faithfully as taught by the Church. Religious Life for me is faithfully living out the evangelical counsels of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience with other sisters who are of one mind and heart, on the way to God, as St. Augustine says. It means being a bride of Christ, simply by performing one's duties faithfully; always being "apud Deum," turned towards God; of being wed to the cross, willing to die to myself each day for the good of others and that they, and myself, with the help of God's grace, and the help of Our Lady will one day be together with God in eternity. I chose the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate because I see that they strive to live this life of sacrifice with joy and love.