By Sarah Harbaugh, candidate with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ
For 10 years I fought the feeling that God was calling me to religious life. God’s call was loud and clear, but I had every excuse to why I wasn’t being called.
I attended Catholic school for 12 years and had the privilege to have two amazing teachers who also happened to be sisters. One sister invited me to consider religious life, but I wasn’t ready to accept the invitation then. I wasn’t even ready to admit to people that the thought had crossed my mind. I graduated high school and put the thought of religious life behind me.
I attended a public college. With the freedom to choose if I wanted to go to mass or not, I found myself putting my faith on the back burner. Why? I was again resisting that tug in my heart from God calling me to something more.
A few years after finishing college, I saw my life falling to pieces around me. I was miserable. I had no prayer life and was not attending mass with any regularity. I was struggling to find full time employment that was meaningful. In an effort to stop the downward spiral, I was getting more involved with my local Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) community.
TEC helped renew my relationship with Christ. I had the desire again to attend mass. Friendships that I had forgotten were renewed, and I found my life developing some order. I attended the Belleville Diocesan Youth Conference to help promote TEC, and that was when the idea of religious life re-entered my mind. One of my former teachers, Sr. Marcia Kruse, ASC, again invited me to consider religious life. I wasn’t ready to accept yet, but that little seed that had been planted in high school had been watered and began growing.
Later, I attended a theology on tap event. I went with the intention to meet other young adults who were interested in similar things as I was. Maybe I would even meet a boy there! Well, God had other plans that night.
The topic of the talk was vocations. Not just religious life, but single and married life. I sat there, the ONLY young adult that had shown up, and listened…not necessarily to the talk. I had a voice talking to me that night. The little voice that I had been arguing with my whole life was telling me that I needed to ask those sisters about starting discernment to become a sister. I fought it. And I fought it hard. At the end of the talk, I finally gave up and asked. I am so glad I did. Simply saying it out loud got the ball rolling. I am now a candidate with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
Saying that yes, the yes to discern, changed my life. I finally stopped fighting against God and began working with Him and the plan He had for my life. That’s really what we’re all called to do, to take the first step, whatever it is, into the hope God has for our lives.