Archdiocese Local

Even adults can need help hearing what God’s calling them to

Stacey Sumereau, host of the weekly podcast “Calling and Caffeinated,” during which she talks about discernment with different guests each week, will speak on that topic Feb. 24 at the rural youth ministry outreach’s Adult Enrichment opportunity. COURTESY PHOTO

by Jack Figge
Special to The Leaven

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Stacey Sumereau’s personal discernment was public — very public — with over a million people following along. Now, she speaks about her process of discovering God’s will for her on her weekly podcast and will speak on that topic Feb. 24 at the rural youth ministry outreach’s Adult Enrichment opportunity.

Growing up, Sumereau wanted to be a Broadway actress. After college, she achieved her dreams, appearing in multiple musicals. But after nine years, Sumereau realized that she was searching for more.

So, she began praying, which led to her beginning to discern entering religious life.

“Through a whole long period of praying and thinking, I began discerning religious life,” she said, “which I didn’t want to do, but it was kind of the thing that became undeniable.

“And I just couldn’t ignore anymore the fact that I better forgo my own dreams and I better start listening to what God wants. From there, it was a really interesting journey.”

Shortly into her discernment, she was approached by a TV producer who asked if a TV crew could follow her discernment journey for a docuseries on Lifetime TV called “Sisterhood,” which first aired in 2014 and followed the stories of young women as they discerned religious life.

“While I was discerning religious life, I ended up just spending part of it working with a documentary crew for ‘Sisterhood,’” said Sumereau. “It was a very public discernment, which taught me a lot about how to talk about discernment and talk to others about it.”

Eventually, Sumereau decided that religious life was not for her. Soon thereafter, she met her husband John; within a year, they were married, and now they have three children. But through her discernment experience, Sumereau came to realize that many people do not know what discernment really is or the proper way to undertake it.

In 2018, she was asked to speak at an event on discernment, which launched her speaking career. She now hosts a weekly podcast “Calling and Caffeinated,” during which she talks about discernment with different guests.             

“After the reality TV show concluded, I received messages from people all over the world asking me how to know God’s will. I realized that many of the same misconceptions I had had, other people had, too,” said Sumereau. “I then felt like the Lord was inviting me to share my story and speak about discernment publicly.”

Sumereau will be speaking about discernment in big and small matters and how one can reclaim self-worth in the digital age.

While discernment is often perceived as an issue that young people face, said Angie Bittner, the rural youth ministry coordinator for the archdiocese, it is important for all people, including adults, to know what healthy discernment looks like.

“Discernment is something that we usually think of when we think about choosing our main vocation in life, right? But it’s learning to listen to God in all things,” said Bittner. “So, if we, as adults, can learn to discern decisions in our lives, perhaps we’ll be better teachers of discernment when our children, grandchildren or students are trying to make decisions in their lives.”

Sumereau will give two presentations on Feb. 24: at 8:30 a.m., she will be speaking at Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Marys, located at 208 W. Bertrand; then at 2 p.m., she’ll be at St. Philip Neri Parish in Osawatomie, located at 500 Parker Ave.

Both talks are open to the public, and the rural youth ministry outreach is encouraging parents, teachers, youth ministers and any other adults to attend the events. To incentivize participation, the ministry said that it will award money based on attendance.

“This event is for any adult in the area — parents, grandparents, catechists, youth ministers, priests, parishioners — anyone who cares about our youth,” said Bittner.

“We pray their hearts will learn new and improved ways to navigate today’s world,” she added, “so their lives and the lives of the young people they love will be more abundant here on earth with the big goal in mind of getting to heaven.”

About the author

Jack Figge

Leave a Comment