I’ve never written a blog before and wonder what women would want to read – specifically women who are considering whether they might have a vocation to the religious life and wonder what it is all about. I wonder myself sometimes!
Back in the “olden days” in 1955, I was a senior in high school when the idea first occurred to me that I wanted to “become a nun.” I told nobody. I lived in a small, northern Minnesota town where there was no Catholic school, not a lot of Catholics, and all my friends were various shades of Protestant. Who would understand?
And where would I even go to pursue this idea? My godmother was in the habit of sending me her back issues of a magazine called Sacred Heart Messenger which I devoured. The back pages had tiny, one-inch high ads for various religious communities. There was one that jumped out at me: Sisters of the Divine Savior. It was to the Divine Savior that I wanted to go, not to St. Francis or St. Benedict or St. Joseph or any of the myriad other saints.
I began a correspondence and went for a visit and then debated: the Sisters of the Divine Savior (in Milwaukee, WI – 450 miles away) to which I felt an indefinable pull; or the Sisters of Benedict (to which my mother felt a pull (because it was only about 25 miles away). I visited the Benedictines and after some not-so-brilliant reasoning, decided to join them. However, when I got there, I seemed to feel a resistance to everything and became so homesick I finally left – after two whole weeks! A year went by during which I took a secretarial course in a business school and then worked for a lawyer. But God wasn’t done with me yet. The Sisters of the Divine Savior kept coming into my thoughts. I wrote and visited again and in the fall of 1959, I entered as a Candidate. I felt at home right away. It was right for me.
I recall Sister Maureen Hopkins, who was director of Candidates when I entered, telling us that we come for one reason and stay for another. And that was true for me. I had only a vague notion of why I felt drawn to the Salvatorians, but once there I grew in my love of religious life. That’s not to say that all was perfect forever after. I have had my doubts, just like most married people periodically question their marriages. At one point the doubts prompted me to leave the Community. But God came after me once again and after only a year and a half I re-entered the Salvatorian community, which is now my permanent home.
by Sr. Elizabeth Ann Christensen, SDS (Sr. Liz)