Yesterday on Facebook I noticed an article that a friend had shared with another friend. It is entitled, “The Waiting” (http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=13363) and is the story of a young woman’s journey of discernment. I have read and re-read it, shared it on my own Facebook page and sent it via email to many friends. It isn’t so much that Catherine Kirwan-Avila’s reflection on her experience is something new to me. Quite the opposite. She gives voice to the faith-filled searching that I have been privileged to share with many young adults as a vocation minister for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Her story fills me with hope!
Casa de Caridad, our local SC community in La Union, New Mexico, has welcomed young women (and a few men!) to live and minister with us on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of them, like Catherine, came from college seeking an opportunity to serve the poor, to share community and to deepen their faith. They all have been discerning life directions and commitment. We have provided the space and companionship and hopefully some mentoring, to help that process along.
We have seen these housemates come and go…and come again. We have kept tabs on their progress through graduate studies and celebrated their weddings and even helped birth their babies. They have given us a generous slice of generativity.
Meeting women who are willing to open up all the potential and possibility of their lives to God’s dreaming for them is an incredible grace. Catherine’s experience of “the waiting” for light and clarity in discerning God’s call reminds me of the time I have spent waiting alongside women like her. Listening to the hopes, the fears, the frustration of waiting for “God’s time” I, too, have sometimes shaken a fist at the Almighty and said, “This better be good!” And it has been. And it is.
Whether or not they are called to vowed religious life, I believe that all of them carry the charism of Charity forward because of the time they have shared with us. God only knows how that gift will be poured out wherever they go, however and with whomever they serve. I make myself content, listening along with each one…and with “the waiting”.