As you can read from the recent blogs by my Sisters, it has been a tough couple of weeks for our community. Sisters Bea and Maureen will be missed so much. Sr. Maureen often would say ‘yes’ to my request to talk to women visiting for a weekend. She was a real vocation story that is relevant to young adults today. After she graduated from college, she taught for 5 years, and then considered religious life and joined us Benedictines. She wanted life experience in the world and in the culture to really be sure God was calling her to religious life.
That is the same advice I often give women today: Go about living for a couple years after college and keep in mind discerning what God is saying to you in your prayer and life experiences. For one thing, Sr. Maureen had to discern between Carmelite and Benedictine life. While she had a real love for Carmelite spirituality and had thought about that cloistered life, she ultimately chose us. She found our integration of prayer and contemplation with outside ministry to be more suited to her spirit.
Sr. Bea was an edification and inspiration to me. She was indeed graceful, however, she edified me with her intense determination to live life to the fullest, each and every day. After her brain injury, she had to relearn who she was. She had to relearn who her Sisters, family and friends were. She re-embraced her religious life willingly and fully. She had a determined love of God even though she suffered greatly. She had a pleasantness and gratefulness that were surprising in someone who had lost everything. She held no bitterness or blame for anyone. She praised God through her gift of music and her gift of gratitude for life. I am not sure I will ever meet anyone so special again. Her perseverance and deep reverence for God is hallmark to a religious vocation.
Both Sisters are models for discernment and knowing God’s Will through life experiences. In every situation they asked, as must we all, What is it God is telling me? How must I respond? How is my life changed by this?