Discernment is a seeking of God’s will in my life through the inner movements of the Spirit of Love. We are called to discernment because a Christian life (vocation) is precisely a response to God’s will and call to discipleship. “Be it done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
This response to God’s call is the only source of my real happiness in this life and hereafter. It is an act of deep gratitude on my part for all that God has done for me – how God has loved me.
Reflection on Discernment Videos:
Summer 2015 –
Fall 2015 –
ANSWERING THE CALL
The earliest time I remember hearing the call to serve was in grade four while I was an altar server for mass. As I grew up, the thoughts would came back once in a while. I like to help others. Growing up, I volunteered in my school, parish and community. It was something my sisters and I had in common, serving others.
When I finished my Bachelor of Education, the call came back, but I was just not ready yet to really answer it. I focused on teaching and have had seven blessed years with the Calgary Catholic School District. It is a privilege to watch these junior high students grow and mature as teenagers each year.
In 2012, when I thought everything was settled in my life, the call came back. I have a great career, love to travel, and bought my own house. But now I am called to leave it all behind? For a year, I did nothing about this “call”. I figured it would go away as it did before. However, this time ignoring the call did not make it disappear. So I began to quietly and slowly discern. I made a silent retreat which helped me find the courage to start searching. I got into contact with several religious communities to get to know them. But nothing really significant happened until June 1, 2014 when I met the Sisters of Providence for the first time. St. Luke’s Parish hosted a Vocation Retreat which consisted of many different religious communities in Calgary. In a room filled with many sisters, I felt a strong connection to the Sisters of Providence instantly, which also scared me.
During the summer I volunteered and continued to be in contact with different religious communities. However, it was clear where I felt truly at home. This became more evident during the Summer Live-In Experience held in Edmonton with the Sisters of Providence for two weeks. The other discerners and I got to learn about their charism, community life, and to do some hands-on work in their various ministries. After summer break ended, I continued to spend time with them to have a better understanding of community life. I taught during the week and then spent every second weekend and sometimes weekdays at Providence Convent in Calgary. I participated in their prayer life and faith sharing along with the cooking and cleaning.
On this journey, I have been led by the Providence of God and this is where I have been led thus far. I am open to what God is calling me to do. I am still discerning and have a long way to go, but I took a leap of faith and said “yes” to God’s call. There is a deep peace within me and that is the peace that I follow. It is not the end result that is important, but it is the experiences along the journey that matters. On this journey I will come to develop a closer relationship with God and have a deeper understanding of His plan for me. I will cherish the people I meet and the experiences that I have along the way.
To any young women who have the slightest thoughts or inclination toward religious life, I strongly encourage you to do something about it. Do not live your life with “what ifs” or regrets later in life when you look back. Come and see for yourself. You may find out that religious life is not for you and that is o.k. At least you will know for sure and there will be no more doubts for you. And if you find out that you are indeed called to religious life, then “Do not be afraid”. God does not call you and then not give you the graces that you need to follow His plan for you.
On June 20, 2015, I entered as a candidate of the Sisters of Providence. Will there be challenges ahead? Yes, but every life has challenges and I will face them one at time as they come. Your prayers for my journey ahead are greatly appreciated.
Come and See Weekend
For Catholic women who would like to know about religious life. It is an opportunity to meet Catholic sisters and learn about their lives of prayer, community and ministry.
A Conversation over Tea
For Catholic women who would like a conversation over tea about religious life. It is an opportunity to share and ask questions about life as a religious sister.
Feel free to call Sister Mary Grace Valdez, SP at (587) 432-2088 or email [email protected]