As I look back through photos from the past few years, I am reminded of the incredible experiences I’ve had since joining the IBVM. I find it hard to believe all that has happened, and, oh, the places I have been. I am in awe of it all and filled with gratitude.
Arriving at Loretto Abbey in September 2014. I was struck by how beautiful it is.
Received as a candidate with the IBVM.
Helping Marren to dress for a Canadian winter.
Our evening tea time at the Abbey.
My first visit to New York City and the United Nations – March 2015.
Halloween at the Abbey – October 2015.
Received as a novice – December 2015.
Memories of the Philippines and Vietnam – 2016. First year/canonical year of novitiate.
My second visit to New York City and a chance to intern at the IBVM UN NGO – April to July 2017.
Discernment retreat for profession of first vows. Pondering the future – August 2017.
This prayer of Thomas Merton has accompanied me for much of my adult life and it has been in my heart many times over the past three years:
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
It still rings true to me now, even with my first profession just a few weeks away. There is always an element of risk in life; we cannot ever be completely certain of where we are going or what will happen. Certainly over the past three years much has happened that I could not predict, and I suspect the future will be the same. I have come to see that religious life, despite sounding quite tame and restrictive, is anything but. There is a lot that is unknown and much joy that comes in the discovery.