Hello Everybody! For my blog’s first “real” post, I decided to share my faith story with all of you. I will try to condense it so you’re not bored to tears, but I hope you enjoy and in some way it inspires you.
I was born into my faith, or what’s called a “cradle Catholic.” From a very young age, I took my faith seriously. When I was 5 or 6, I really wished to receive Communion, but Catholics normally do not receive until 2nd grade (around age 7.) So my mom would give me a small piece of hers each time she returned from communion. I finally reached my special day on April 27th, 1997—the weather was cold and damp, but my heart was bursting with joy- I could finally receive Jesus in Holy Communion! I grew strong in my faith, and once I was old enough, participated in many church activities- from singing in the folk group, leading the Saturday mass in song during the Summer, teaching CCD (religious education), and participating in parish related events, like our endless dinners that we hosted, and summer BBQ’s & Penny Sales.
In 2002, my father had a heart attack that left his heart 97% blocked. He was forced to retire, and was VERY unhappy, to say the least. Things got rough, and I was a teenager at this point. My faith waivered a little bit (as most teenagers do), but I never “stopped” being a part of my faith…in fact, I got MORE active. I become a Lector (reader), Eucharistic Minister, and started attending the weekly hour of adoration on Tuesday nights. With my father so bitter due to being forced to retire, my faith became my sanity. And a few years later, it would continue to be a big part of my life.
By 2005, it was obvious that my father was almost done his earthly journey—he was getting worse instead of better, and was at the point where he did not care. I made the decision to stop my school related activities to take care of him, while my mother worked. I left a full 4 year college scholarship to Sacred Heart University behind, due to my Bowling achievements. Many thought this was a dumb idea, even teachers, but family comes before anything, and if I hadn’t have dumped that, I would have missed some serious and precious moments with my father. I was confirmed on May 15th, 2005—my dad was in a hospital bed, and unable to attend the ceremony. October 17th, God finally called him home. I had just started my Junior year. A year that’s supposed to be filled with anticipation, college essays and applications, proms and other happy occasions was suddenly filled with sadness. While I was clearly glad he was no longer suffering, there were family issues that prevented me from being truly joyous (which I will focus on in a future post). Through these difficult days, I held on to my faith—I went to mass everyday at my new parish, Ste. Marie’s (I had left the old one shortly after my father’s death due to the many memories there that were just too hard to deal with at the time.) And even raced to Eucharistic Adoration after school. It was around this time that I was cast as “Sr. Robert Anne” for the 3rd time in our annual school Nunsense production (it was a fixture at the school, and they retired the show in my honor at the graduation ceremony, as they said nobody can play Sr. Robert Anne as good as Mandy did!) I didn’t need to learn the lines as it was the same every year, and I had played this same part for 3 years now…but something was different. It was this time that I started thinking deep inside “I can actually see myself living like this.” That performance, and the one the following year, took on a different picture for me than the previous years. I actually placed myself AS Sr. Robert Anne, instead of just playing her role. I began actively looking at different orders within the state of New Hampshire (to start with), and visited each and every one, but none really felt “home” to me. So for the time being, I decided to get active in parish life again, and focus on listening to what God wanted in my life. I had fully switched to Ste. Marie’s by this time, as St. Patrick’s later closed it’s doors for good (still a sore spot—another future post) in 2007. If we had a chorus performance that landed on Ash Wednesday (which we did, occasionally) I would get my ashes first, and then head to the performance—not caring in the slightest that I had a huge cross of ashes on my forehead and was in the front row. I would attend dialy mass at 530 before every chorus performance, and always pray that it go well and without mishaps. (And it usually did.)
Fast forward to today—my faith is still a strong pillar in my life. I still attend Ste. Marie’s, although I’m technically registered at Blessed Sacrament. (BS is on the other side of town, and it’s hard to get to when you don’t drive.) Due to circumstances beyond my control (aka- a controlling priest who picks favorites), I no longer read or serve communion at mass, nor do I sing…but that’s OK. I’m enjoying just simply “being”. I’m not anything anymore- I’m just myself, a humble sinner who deserves nothing, but is healed and restored through Christ. I’ve returned to looking at religious orders, and have even broadened my horizons by exploring orders in other states. I have found a few that I like, and really feel called to investigate further, and those are:
Daughters of the Heart of Mary- Holyoke, MA. Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, Waterville, Maine. Benedictines of St. Scholastica Monastery, Petersham, MA. Sisters of the Resurrection, Rosedale, New York.
I’m in constant contact with all orders, and have visits planned for the future. I’m also looking in to options as a consecrated single person, or simply remaining single and devoted to God and his people. I have a presentation I’m working on titled ‘Sacred Brokenness’ which I hope to be “on the road” with, by Lent of this year, depending on the weather.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, and look forward to reading comments (if any) and hope you will continue to stick around and follow me though my inspiring posts and travels.
In his service,
“Sr. Robert Anne.