I suppose it may not be totally correct to use a made-up word like "favoritest" to describe the feast of the Immaculate Conception, but I think Mary smiles with me in using it. Four years ago as a senior in college, on Dec. 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I said yes to that little voice that had been nudging me to try out this vocational path. I not only made the decision that day but also talked to Sr. Becky, who was vocation director at the time, and asked how to get this whole process started. It was quite a day. I had met in the morning with one of the sisters, Sr. Rita who taught at Fontbonne, just to talk. As we shared, Rita asked me if I had ever considered religious life. I told her that I was planning to do a year of volunteer work after college, but that if I wasn't I would definitely be looking at joining. That was the first time I had ever said that out loud, and I immediately knew it to be true. Rita suggested that if I meant what I had said, that I act on it sooner than later. I doubt she meant that very day, but why not?! I knew Becky would be coming to school for an Advent concert that evening, so I waited for her in the lobby. When she came, I grabbed her by the elbow, said I heard that she was the vocation director, told her I wanted to be a Sister of St. Joseph, and asked what I needed to do to get the process started. And here I am.
Not only is the day special to me, but it is also a special day for many of my friends from college. The theme of "saying yes without having all the answers" seems to be one that resonates loud and clear on all of our journeys. It is so nice to know that as I celebrate my 'yes's, even with the unknowns, the questions, the doubts, that we celebrate together.
I thought the Gospel reading from Friday flowed so wonderfully into Saturday.
As Advent continues I pray that 'YES' spoken in gratitude, in belief of possibility, and in recognition of my need of God might be the first word of my heart each and every morning.
P.S. Photo taken at the Conservatory in St. Paul. They have a beautiful garden filled with poinsettias. Quite warm compared with the single digits outside.