By Sr. Sheila Campbell, MMM Ireland 25.02.2022
One of the questions I am asked, often if not frequently, is “How did you know you wanted to be a Sister?” Well, the truthful answer – I always knew – is not very helpful so I went around all my colleagues to see if I could come up with a better answer.
The first thing you notice about the responses is their variety. Each one seems to travel by a different path, even if we end up in the same religious community. I suspect that our paths, within religious life, are all different but that is another story. Some seem to come to the decision easily enough, “Sure, I’ll give it a try”. Others struggle, “Who me? No way. I want to get married, have a family.” Some already have steady relationships, others are still searching.
The only common thread is that the thought will not go away. It keeps surfacing. I compare it to an itch. If you try to ignore it, the sensation only seems to get worse until relieved by scratching – that is paying attention to the source of the itch. Why are some people called to this life and not others? God alone knows. It is not better or worse than any other life choice, just different.
For me, my fifty odd years in religious life have been very fulfilling. I am not a religious Pollyanna. I have gone through some difficult assignments and have lived with people I would not have chosen. But on the whole, I have been happy and content. Yes, I would do it all again. At times I look at an elderly married couple and see their comfortableness with each other. That is the kind of contentment I feel now. Yes, I know religious life, warts and all, and yes, it is worth it.
So, if you have the itch, scratch it. Come and see for yourself.