My name is Meagan Gruninger and I grew up in Lethbridge, Alberta. My family and I went to Mass on Sundays, but I didn’t really understand God or my faith. My younger sister and I altar served and helped out at Mass, but God felt unknown, distant, and a little bit scary. When I began high school, this all changed. I was invited to a weekend retreat called ‘Search’ and decided to go, thinking, “why not?” I went in very open to the experience and was absolutely blown away. Through an intense skit which depicted God endlessly pursuing the main character, I felt my eyes were opened to God and how He has pursued me my whole life long. When I encountered the God of love in the Blessed Sacrament, I laid down everything and rejoiced that he found me! This began my walk with God, and ultimately, my vocation as well.
A year after this retreat I went to a Catholic conference called “One Rock” near Calgary. I attended with a super outgoing friend of mine, who I happened to lose in the sea of friends that were there. However, I was not alone, as the Holy Spirit steered me to the booths at the conference and I happened to encounter the love of so many religious sisters. It was my first encounter with sisters, and it enkindled a spark of curiosity in my heart. I collected their pamphlets like trading cards and would later study them in the secret of my room. I began to be aware of what a vocation is and that I too have a vocation through the witness of the sister’s and the gentle invitation of the Lord.
Curiosity bloomed into desire as I met two other women after this conference who were also interested in religious life, and we began to have a small share group in which we shared our struggles and joys. They inspired me to have bold confidence in the Lord when discerning one’s vocation. During the following summer, my family and I went on a trip to Kelowna and feeling very bold, I decided to ask God to send me some daisies if He wanted me to become a religious sister. It was nearing the end of the trip and I was beginning to wonder if the Lord was wanting this of me because I had not seen a single daisy yet. On one of the last days, our family was going for a hike, and I secretly said to the Lord “this is your last opportunity!” The whole way up the hike I was searching the ground diligently, not wanting to miss the Lord’s sign, but there was not a single daisy. Neither was there any on the way down. I was beginning to feel very disappointed when I got into the car and looked out the window, and lo! the whole side of the road was lined with daisies. I made my family stop the car as I went to gather a few of the precious signs. I had missed them on the way up. I thanked the Lord the whole way home to Lethbridge for this special sign he allowed me to have.
After I finished university, I began to ponder anew what vocation the Lord may want for me. I worked for a while, then decided to go on a trip to Ontario to visit different orders. At this time, I felt that the Lord was drawing me to act on the call I felt in my heart over the past few years, so as to make some concrete steps so that He could move me the direction He and I desired. At the first community I visited on this trip, I was keenly listening to the Lord for a deepened call upon my heart as I had previously experienced when I felt called to St. Therese School of Faith and Mission or St. Stephen’s University. After a heart to heart with my spiritual director, we discovered that rather than searching for a contemplative place to pray for the world, I was looking for an extremely intentional community where I could experience freedom, and allow others to experience freedom and love in the Lord. This was intensely freeing and filled me with hope. I became more aware of how the Lord leads me to where He wants me by the desires He had planted in my heart long ago. With this new articulation of my desires, I came to the next stop on my trip.
I then arrived at the Servants of the Cross where I felt a wash of peace come over me as I sat down for supper with all the sisters the first night there. Sr. Melinda invited me to ask God a simple question to guide my discernment week there. I decided to ask, “Lord, is this where you want me?” It felt strange, scary, and yet, very good to give God room and permission to reveal to me my vocation. I held my heart and tender desires out to Him as I sought His voice.
As I journeyed through the week, asking the Lord my simple question, I felt an unusual peace. One day in Adoration, I was asking this question of the Lord, giving Him permission to say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ when I felt in my heart that His hand extended to me in an invitation to join Him there. I always imagined that when I found the order that the Lord desired for me, I would feel this gentle invitation from Him deep in my heart. And then, it was real! He confirmed His invitation to me by revealing how the Servants answer the desires that He helped me to articulate: a desire for freedom, a desire to lead others to a personal relationship with Him, intentional community, holistic living, and bubbling joy.
I feel very excited to keep discerning my vocation, step by step with the Lord and the Servants. It has been a delight to discover that God is ever attentive to my most little desires. He continues to show me that he is faithful as I give Him my permission and trust!
Gift cards for toiletries (Walmart, Loblaws, Dollarama)
Long sleeve white polo shirt
Black socks (ankle height, regular thickness)
Phone calling cards
Thank you cards
Vitamins (Vitamin C or Multivitamins)
Tortilla wraps (cheese, tomato, any flavour)
Tostitos chips (original or multigrain)