A Consecrated Virgin’s Journey
My vocational journey began when I was 13 and had a strong sense that God was calling me to give myself to him completely to serve him through the Church. At this time I was not a member of the Catholic Church and felt perhaps I was called to be a nurse or a missionary. My journey over the next 15 years led to my being received into full communion as a Catholic and to having this desire for service reignited in a way I had not imagined. I knew many religious sisters and nuns but did not feel a pull to live in community. I had however heard of The Order of Consecrated Virgins and The Auxiliary of the Apostolate and felt drawn to the former. After many conversations with my spiritual director and Diocesan Bishop it was agreed that I could make a temporary public commitment to live as a consecrated virgin. Over the next year, as I continued to discern how I was called to live out this special calling I felt I had to revisit living in community. This I did for about 3 years before both the community and I knew beyond doubt this was not how God was calling me to live out my life.
Picking up the pieces and moving forward I became a registered nurse and moved to Birmingham to work. After settling into work and parish life, establishing stability in faith, life, work and finances, the thought of consecrated life was still there and after much soul searching and prayer I restarted the dialogue about living in the world as a consecrated virgin. What I had to be sure of, and I was with no shadow of doubt, was that I was not seeking to live a calling that was second best but that it was the life I was and am called to live.
So now, aged 44, I have just made my public profession. I yearned for this day when I would make a perpetual commitment to live out this vocation which is flourishing in the Catholic Church throughout the world. Living out this liturgical vocation through prayer (Divine Office, private prayer and daily mass as work allows) and action (e.g. as a catechist), while deepening a spiritual bond with the local Church as spouse of Christ is both an honour and privilege which I thank God for. Reflecting back, God did call me to be a sister, just in a different way; as a nurse!
As I continue to trust in God’s providence and mercy I know I will be exactly where he wants me to be.