After reading about SueBe’s latest endeavor, I was emboldened to talk about my own. Not that I’m ashamed of it. I’m thrilled, actually. I’ve been accepted into the Providence Associate program with the Sisters of Providence. With vocations at an unsettling low, the Sisters have instituted a program whereby ordinary folk like me engage in intense study and contemplation in order to become associates of the order. This means that one day, if my studies go well, I will be a part of spreading the mission and charism of the S.P.s.

I can’t wait to begin the journey; my companion in this endeavor will be my dear friend and mentor Sr. Rosemary Nudd, English professor extraordinaire from my college days. She will guide me along the way, provoking me to get and give the most that I can.

So why am I not shouting my news from the rooftops? To certain people, I am. My mother, for instance, understands my calling and shares my joy. Others don’t quite get it. “Will you have to wear the costume?” one well-meaning friend asked. (Just for the record, the Sisters of Providence haven’t worn a “costume” in many, many years. They dress just like you and me.) “Does this mean you’re leaving your husband?” someone else inquired. No, it doesn’t. I won’t take vows. I won’t be obligated financially to the order. I’ve simply expressed my desire to have an ongoing, formal relationship with them, to help them with their work in the world.

Unfortunately, what nuns are and what they do is still largely misunderstood in this world, so of course, my calling is something of a mystery to some. But it is my calling, after all. No one has to understand it but me. And I couldn’t be happier.

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