Contributors Set apart

Is someone just waiting for you to start the conversation?

Sister Eva-Maria Ackerman, FSGM, is the Delegate for Religious and Consecrated Life for the archdiocese.

by Sister Eva-Maria Ackerman

As a laywoman, I left the Cursillo weekend with an awareness that God had something for me to do with my life.

His whisper in the depths of my heart during one of the weekend’s last talks was almost imperceptible, but it was real. Waiting on him for clarity, I returned to my workplace at our city’s newspaper and to my parish community with greater joy and zeal.

Not long after the retreat, observing a change in my life, Patsy, a fellow reporter and lifelong Baptist, said out of the blue, “Terri, you are getting more involved in your church. Have you ever thought about becoming a Sister?”

My response was as swift as it was emphatic, “No way!”

As a child, my nun doll interested me only because her head was bald under the veil. The movie, “The Singing Nun,” made me want to learn how to play the guitar and sing. I was awed when our family station wagon passed a car filled with habited nuns.

But no, not once had I ever considered religious life. Not until that moment.

Patsy’s question planted a seed in my heart which started to grow. I truly began to consider the possibility of being a Sister. It was not what I had wanted in life, so I told God he would have to give me a sign. A clear one.

At the end of the month, I traveled to visit my grandmother. On my way out the door to the Saturday afternoon Mass, I picked up the TV Guide to see what would be on when I returned.

A program at 6 p.m. jumped out at me! “Sister Terri” was billed as a one-time pilot program about a former gang member who gave up her ways to become a nun. Her name was spelled like mine, but that is where the similarities ended!

Surely God delivered the sign with a smile on his face. He also whispered a little louder this time: “I have called you by name: you are mine” (Is 43:1).

Next week, the church in the United States celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week. Maybe this would be a perfect time for you to ask a young man or woman — perhaps someone in your family, your classroom or your parish — the question: “Have you ever thought about becoming a priest?” Or “Have you ever considered religious life?”

For some young people, you may be the very instrument God uses to plant an important seed within their hearts. Or maybe the desire has already sprouted, and they are simply waiting for you to ask the question and start the conversation.

About the author

Sister Eva-Maria Ackerman

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