Asking the right questions

stefanie and sr sheila mcgrathBy Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

“It is in that process of deep communication that great choice can be made to sustain life.” – Victor Klimoski, Ph.D.

I was fortunate to hear Dr. Klimoski at last summer’s Monastic Institute. His comment about communication continues to engage me … even, recently, in prayer!

Here’s why. As someone who is ever so slightly introverted, I tend to keep my personal issues quiet. If, for example, I am contemplating a change that will affect my whole life – like entering the Benedictine community – I tend to think I can wrestle with all the issues that surround it by myself.

Leave teaching? Oooookay. Leave my parish? This one is tough. Leave the privacy of my apartment and move in with 40-some other women? Oh, dear.

Communication with others during these momentous times helps us focus on the real issues … and helps us move forward.

That’s certainly the case when we’re discerning religious life. I had a spiritual director to turn to. She helped me recognize the deep questions so that I could contemplate them.

I also began discerning with the vocation director at the monastery where I eventually entered. She, too, knew some of my questions and concerns before I did.

It’s critical that you open yourself up to real, deep communication during any life-changing and life-sustaining discernment.

Begin deep discussion with your spiritual director. If Benedictine life intrigues you, contact me (smacdonald@smmsisters.org) and we’ll talk deeply, too. I know the questions to ask, and can sure relate to the concerns you have. Blessings!

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