We’ve written our stories short and sweet erring on the side that if we keep them short, there is this certainty that you, the viewer, will read the entire piece. And then because it’s so short you can’t help but move on to the next testimony.

Sr. Anna
Sr. Anna

Sr. Anna

I wanted to live life to the fullest but I wasn’t quite sure by what standards. I grew up in one of the largest cities in Canada, Toronto. I loved fashion, shoes, bags, going dancing with my friends, eating out with friends and having enough money to make it down to the Caribbean for some fun. But this lifestyle ‘rubbed shoulders’ with my parents who wanted more for me. They were living life with God at the centre of it and wanted me to have the same. In time, and through their fervent prayer I began to wrestle with what it meant to live life to the fullest.  

You see, I began to realize how empty the world was with its promises. It never quite filled what my heart, my soul was longing for. And it was in my late twenties that I took a great leap of faith, joined NET ministries, an Evangelization ministry for young adults where God turned my life 180 degrees. NET was a launching pad for this deep hunger in me to discover what living life to the fullest meant. God captured my heart and my search began. I moved to Ottawa, Canada and every time I learned more about the faith, the more I hungered for a deeper and personal relationship with God. His love for me became the realest thing I ever experienced. Needless to say, it still is. I now know what it means to live life to the fullest. I know where I want to go in life and share it in abundance with as many people as I can, that is, eternal life with God himself.

Sr. Monique

I grew up in a big French-Canadian Catholic family in a small town in Saskatchewan. A big family meant over twenty sets of uncles and aunts and many, many cousins. There was lots of love to go around and I grew up always feeling loved and feeling that I belonged. Subconsciously I sought this love and sense of belonging wherever I went. When I started university, I found this sense of belonging with a campus missionary group called Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO). I was free to grow in my faith and to get to know Jesus on a personal level.

Then a few years later after I served on a missionary team where I was able to share that love of Jesus with others, I began to discern my vocation. I wanted to know in what vocation I would be happiest and where I would feel loved and that I belonged. I saw that my siblings were finding their vocation in marriage and beginning their own family. There was a tug in my heart, a desire to ask God ’who is my family?’ And in that very moment, He responded, ‘I am your family. You belong with me.’ There was an immediate peace in my heart. I sensed that I had come home to love. I sensed this was God’s way of revealing to me my vocation to be solely His as His beloved bride. He captivated my heart. I felt a deep peace. I felt loved and that I had found my home, where I belonged! I didn’t hesitate and responded to be His entirely! I found my family in Him.

Sr. Monique
Sr. Monique
Sr. Melinda
Sr. Melinda

Sr. Melinda

The simplest way to describe my vocation is to think of making a cup of tea. You’ve got a tea bag. You need boiled water. Put them together, and something wonderful happens!

The tea bag – lifeless and tasteless on its own. The tea bag has a hint of aroma, flavour potential, but it needs to be partnered with something more. My tea bag is that I was raised in the Catholic faith. Yet up until my first year of university, I lived life my own way. I was selfish, prideful, spoiled in some respects, and I felt empty. There was a yearning in my heart to live to my full potential, to have ‘flavour’. I was searching for something, someone to fill the emptiness and loneliness I felt.

Boiled water – there is power when you see water at a rolling boil. When I think of boiling water, I think of the Holy Spirit. The moment I encountered the Holy Spirit in a powerful way was on a weekend retreat. My life was changed! I experienced God in a way which changed my understanding from God who is ‘out there’ to God who is personally interested in me. This combination of my desire for something more – that tea bag, and the power of the Holy Spirit – boiled water, came together to create something tasty.

Steeped tea – a beautiful combination of flavour, power and time. When I received God’s love, my heart changed, my plans changed, and my way of life changed. I became more giving, more loving, and found joy in serving those around me. I spent time growing in my relationship with the Lord. I spent time learning to love without counting the cost. I spent time asking God the big questions about where best to serve him with my life. And the answer was the deep, rich, flavourful gift of my vocation as a Sister.

So what do you do with a cup of steeped tea? Savour every sip. I am so grateful for every moment of my religious life, and the new taste experience that comes with each sip.

Sr. Michael Penelope

I remember experiencing a conversion of heart when I encountered Jesus through the book “The Way of Divine Love.” I was touched by God’s boundless love and mercy. I learned that it was very easy to save souls! In the book it read that “A little act of generosity, of patience, of poverty… may become the treasure that will win a great number of souls to my Heart.” (August 7, 1922)

God’s love moved my heart. Knowing God’s power to convert hearts brought me joy. Understanding how I could pray for the world and how I could participate in the plan of salvation brought me peace. Page after page, the words Jesus spoke to Sr. Josefa Menendez penetrated my heart. I cried and prayed. I rejoiced and hoped. I surrendered and offered my life to Him. I wanted to be like Sr. Josefa, to be a Saint. I wanted to be close to Him, close enough that I could hear His Heart say to me just as He said to her, “You are ever in My Heart, for it is an abyss of love. I am with you.” I wanted all of Jesus. These words have never left my heart. I could see how He could act through me, speak through me and that together, we can make the Father known to the whole world.

Sr. Michael Penelope
Sr. Michael Penelope
Sr. Alison
Sr. Alison

Sr. Alison

As I reflect over my relationship with God, I can see where we’ve moved from acquaintances to friends. For many years I knew of Him, but I did not know Him.  In 2008, I attended World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia where I had an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit. That encounter set my heart on fire and opened my heart to receiving God’s love. I was captivated by His love for me. After that moment all I wanted to do was learn more about Him and serve Him in whatever way I was able to.  I realize that the encounter in Sydney was a precursor to what the Lord was preparing in me.  I may have been brought up in the Catholic Church, but it was not until this point that I was given a real hunger and thirst for our Lord and my faith.

I literally met Jesus at a retreat that was offered at my church, a Life in the Spirit type of retreat.  I remembered asking over and over again in my heart, “What do you say to Jesus?”  During the retreat, one of the team members who acted as Jesus stood in front of me, took the paper that my sins and struggles were written on and threw it on the floor and held out his arms and waited for me to embrace him.    As I threw my arms around him, he then embraced me as to say “Welcome home”.   I remember him whispering to me, “I love you.  You are mine”.  I held him tight for what seemed to be forever.  It was in that moment, having a physical encounter with the person of Jesus Christ through this team member, that my heart was forever captured.

Meagan

How did the Lord capture your heart to this vocation? When did he capture me to be his own?

One experience of how the Lord captured my heart to consecrated life was through a film about St. Francis of Assisi. In this film, St. Francis was completely taken with God, and chose to literally disrobe himself and follow Jesus. He walked barefoot, free, and followed where the Spirit willed. He was a man in love with Love, and his life became a love story. The huge swell of joy, freedom and consolation was almost too much, bursting within me, as I watched this film. I wanted to take to the streets bare foot, that very night, to follow Jesus!

Learning from St Francis was a stepping stone into a deeper relationship with the Lord. But it was in a time of restlessness that the Lord captured me into His heart. Though I had many experiences that pointed me towards religious life, my heart wasn’t convinced. I struggled to really listen to where the Lord was calling me and I began to date an old friend. In short order the restlessness and heaviness increased. I couldn’t pray. I wasn’t myself. It became unbearable the more I tried to pursue this relationship. In reflection after the experience, the Lord revealed to me why this was so. I discovered in my heart that the Lord had made me for Himself. This set me free and joy returned! I needed a concrete experience to know for myself that “I am not my own, I am Jesus’; He must be my only love” (St. Kateri Tekawitha). I realized then that the Lord had already captured my heart; I discovered I am content with Him and Him alone, and began to give myself permission to be totally captivated by Him.

Meagan
Meagan