It’s interesting that within the course of a single day yesterday, I received some related questions from separate sources:
How did your family feel (and continue to feel) about your vocation ? What is your relationship like? When you decided to become a sister, did your family support you?
These could provide fuel for a wealth of reflections, but, for some reason, the one thing that comes to mind is from a comment my grandpa made when I finally opened up about pursuing religious life. (I’ll get back to these questions in the near future.)
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It was a very unusual week in July, after my sophomore year in college. I had first been alerted to my vocation about a year before, but did not want anyone to know, other than my mom in whom I had confided my ‘secret.’
Having been made vulnerable by an unexpected hospitalization, I was finally more open about what I believed God was calling me to: pursuing becoming a religious Sister. Thus it was that I shared the news with my dad’s dad, my ‘Grandpa Neumann’ in my hospital room. His response was “You’re grandma always said you’d be a sister.”
The crazy thing is that she knew, years before I did, what the Plan was. And…I had never given it much thought before the previous summer, nor did I have any clue that she had such an awareness. You might say it was one of the family’s ‘best kept secrets.’
The thing is, too, that I would never had guessed that my grandma would have said something like that. She was a devout Catholic, but not one to be overly talkative about such things.
In the years since that time, I’ve wondered, How did she know? What gave her that insight that even I lacked about myself? I really haven’t come to any answer, but that’s okay.
Last evening, upon reflecting upon this further, the thought crossed my mind: So what did she do about it? Did it affect how she prayed for me? It’s interesting to consider.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offers a page of tips, prayers, and resources for families to promote vocations. Prayer is, in fact, one of the main things that is stressed in fostering vocations.
Actually, our own Constitutions as Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen directs us that each Sister “persistently prays to the Lord to send laborers into His vineyard.” We are also reminded, in the same section, that “the life and work of each Sister…can influence young persons in the choice of their vocation.”
Maybe my grandma did that, prayed for me and helped guide me without so many words, during the many interactions we had during my childhood…like sharing Sunday afternoons together while the men watched NFL football.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF