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It is very difficult to put the mystery of ‘God’s workings’ into words. God communicates in many ways, through people, events, scripture, books, films, even when we are not aware of it at the time. I grew up in a home where faith was strong and vibrant. As children, we all learned the value and importance of sharing, honesty, self-worth, hard work, respect and prayer from the example our parents gave us. So, even though I didn’t know at the time, the first seeds of my vocation were sown in those early years at home.
Growing up, I was like any of my friends, enjoying parties, discos, cinema, reading, walking and going on holidays. The year that I was doing my Leaving Certificate, my friends asked me to go on holidays to Greece to get my mind off the idea of Religious Life. Off we went and all had a great time but my heart still told me to keep searching. I had a great fondness for books, especially biographies, autobiographies – tales of heroism. Again, God used my love of books to continue planting seeds. When I read the life of Mary Aikenhead, Foundress of the Sisters of Charity, I was very impressed by her great desire to help the poor – those on the fringes of society – in a way, those who were least cared about. Also, I loved the motto she chose for the congregation : Caritas Christi Urget Nos – which means The Love of God impels us.
Of course, there are many vocations in life – the hard part is deciding which one God is calling us to.
I didn’t know any Sisters, and so it was all a bit daunting, not having any first hand knowledge about the life of a sister. Of course, there are many vocations in life – the hard part is deciding which one God is calling us to – so I looked up the phone book (pre internet days), under vocations, and found the address of Vocations Ireland. A priest there directed me to a group called Unison. One of the Sisters there invited me to a weekend and my quest to find out if I was called to be a Sister began in earnest.
After some time, writing, praying, reflecting, I met my first Sister of Charity. We had been writing to each other for a number of months. After a while, I met the Novice Mistress. I felt completely at home with any of the Sisters I met and when I heard of all of the areas they worked in, I felt that there would be a niche for me there. I am now 34 years a Sister with the Sisters of Charity. In that time I trained to be a primary school teacher in Carysfort College, and was awarded a masters degree in Women’s Studies from UCD. I taught in various schools, before becoming the Principal of Mater Dei, Basin Lane, and establishing The Haven Adult Education Centre. I am now Vocations Director, and part of the Leadership Team. My journey to try to have God at the centre of my life, continues.