It is Vocation Awareness Week. As such, I've visited three schools to talk about what it means to me to be a sister, to share some of my story. One of the things that I share with the students is that when I was sitting where they are I wouldn't have raised my hand to say that I was thinkng about being a nun. Not because I was embarrassed to have been thinking it, but because I didn't think at that time that was where I would be called. I didn't have any sisters in grade school and the two sisters who taught at my high school I didn't have as teachers. Why would I choose a vocation about which I knew nothing about? I think that is one of the things I most enjoy about speaking with students. Many of them don't know any sisters. They don't know what this life looks like. Even if I can just share a glimpse, it's a start.
Tonight at prayer Paula shared a reading on joy. I was reflecting on the deep joy that has come with the decision to join the Sisters of St. Joseph and how it has changed since I began this process. From initial elation and sparks to a more mellow, gentle, kind of joy. I hope there is always some of both. I hope there is always something in this life that sends up sparks. More than the sparks, though, the deep, bottom of my heart joy is the greatest sign for me that I am right where I need to be right now.
When I was walking down the hall at one grade school this week, a first grader turned to me and asked, "Who are you?" I told her that my name was Sister Sarah. "Sister Sarah? What does that mean?" "Do you know what a nun is?" I asked. "Yes," she replied. "Well, I am one." "GROSS!" she said as she turned and headed for her classroom. I know I am getting a bit older and I'm not as in touch with the current slang as I used to be, so I'm going to guess and say that "Gross" means "Hey, that's really cool. I want to be a nun too!"