National Vocations Awareness Week: 4-11 August 2019
As I reflect on my discernment journey as a Covenant Josephite, I have come to realise that God’s call in my life manifested itself through my desire to respond to the needs I see in the world and my practical and joyful capacity in doing so. It is not simply a call to a way of life that only God wants for me, but also a way of life that I so desire. In this covenant relationship with God, I see myself as mutually responsible to the commitment that we (God and I) have both made. Affiliation with the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart has helped me to remain focused on God’s call for mission and be guided by the charism of Mary MacKillop in my everyday life. In my view, I believe it is by God’s providence that the Sisters of Saint Joseph are available to support this new pathway.
A question that I get asked often is why not either choose a vowed life or simply choose a single/married life? Why Covenant Josephite? Traditionally within the Catholic Church we are given an either-or choice. Those who are called to become vowed religious live in a separate community that is distinguished from those who are single or married. The vocation of a single or married life is often seen as a half-hearted devotion to God’s mission due to other life commitments. However, I believe that one can still fully devote oneself to God’s mission and bring it to other aspects of life whole-heartedly. For many Catholics it seemed difficult to comprehend a calling to fully devote one’s life without living in the conformity of a vowed religious life. As a result, I have found that spiritual formation, ministry and discernment support are often lacking for single and married people. With a heart that desires a deepening of my relationship with God, I began my discernment journey in 2009. After several failed attempts in finding a congregation that has a place for the vocation that God has whispered into my heart, I gradually came to know of the Sisters of Saint Joseph where a new vocation pathway called “Covenant Josephite” was shown to me. Through the support of a discernment guide and a discernment team that offered me the opportunity to explore with an open heart all possible pathways, I came to recognise my place as a Covenant Josephite and made my first commitment in 2016. Since then, the discernment journey has not ended but rather continued in a challenging way as God continues to lead me into a life that I have not planned for myself.
What does it mean to be a Covenant Josephite? This is a question I try to be mindful of everyday, before making a decision and for every circumstance in my work, social and family life, thus furthering the guidance of Mary MacKillop to, “Never see a need without doing something about it.”
What is the need in this very moment that is calling me, and will I be joyful in my response to it? In discerning my answer to this question, I believe is the place for my vocation.
Photo of Winding Road Travel by JanBaby obtained from Pixabay. Used with permission.