By Sister Frances Pytlik, ASC

Advent allows us to connect with our hopes and desires, our longing and yearning for God. But with Advent coming only once every 12 months, I try to be alert to that process year-round.

As I look back over the last years, I am aware of the Spirit’s nagging, prodding and pushing, and my slow and deliberate response to these proddings.

As I responded to calls for ministries and moved from one mission place to another, the decisions and the timing seemed appropriate.

At the beginning of my ninth year in western Kansas, I sensed it was time to move. As luck would have it, I received an invitation to return to David City, Nebraska, to be nearer to my mother and to teach second grade.

Was this a leap of faith or simply the providence of God leading me back home?

The biggest unknown in this move, was that I would be living with a Dominican Sister. As it turned out, we became great friends. I’m not sure if our little community was Dominican Adorers or Precious Dominicans, but we lived and prayed together for 17 years.

During that time, we walked together through sadness and joy.  Sometimes it was a silent standing by each other. The hardest part of our journey came when we sat together at the doctor’s office and heard that she had six months to live. A short eight weeks later, I sat by her bedside and said a final farewell.

In the years since my move to David City, I taught second grade full time; became a board member of St. Joseph’s Villa, one of the Adorers’ sponsored ministries; earned my master’s in gerontology and aging; taught an online college class for two years and moved from a six-bedroom house to a smaller dwelling owned by St. Joseph’s Villa. All of it was guided by God’s providence.

Slowly, I started visiting with the residents at St. Joseph’s, and found a real joy in this ministry. After two years of prayer, discernment, and discussion, I finally was open to the promptings of the Spirit that it was the right time to move into part-time teaching and part-time volunteering at St. Joseph’s Villa and Court.

So has my (year-round Advent) journey been a leap of faith or a slow steady walking with the Spirit, who sometimes has to walk slower so I can catch up?

Either way, I must say God’s provident hand has been leading me along the way.

  • Do you feel prodded and nudged by the Spirit?
  • Where do you feel the Spirit is leading you?
  • What big ‘unknown’ in any of your moves has marked or changed you?