…and watching Christie, Claire, Eseni, Francesca and Stacey work, pray, and talk to the professed sisters in these two communities has given viewers an uplifting and honest look at religious life. To add to the fun, the cast has been live-tweeting the episodes. After following cast member Stacey Jackson (@StackeyJaxx), I messaged her and asked if she’d be willing to chat. She agreed, and I was so inspired to learn even more about her discernment.
In college, I learned I had been stealing. Not shoplifting. Not downloading music illegally (that wasn’t even really possible with our dial-up internet.) Not even neglecting to claim my tips as a waitress (the computer made us to it.) My senior year of college, I realized I was stealing from the poor.
I wanted names, dates, places, and the assurance of a happy ending. I wanted to know what the future held for me. I wanted God to tell me everything.
You see, there’s something about studying abroad in Europe that made me ask The Big Questions about life.
What was I supposed to do with my degree? Was I supposed to be a nun? Should I work this summer or look for an internship? And, the most pressing question — why weren’t boys asking me out? I knew that I was called to holiness through the sacrament of baptism, but this felt generic.
If we had already been living together, in the back of my mind I’d wonder if Jim was asking me to marry him because he’d gotten used to having me around. I’d wonder if I had said “yes” because I was afraid of being alone and having to open jars by myself. But when I walk down the aisle, there will be no doubt in my mind that we’re freely choosing marriage not because we had settled in as roommates who had learned to put up with each other, but as two people that have freely chosen to love each other.
Your faith isn’t your Mom and Dad’s thing anymore. If you have questions, search for the answers, I promise you they’re there! It’s up to you to respond to the invitation from Christ to draw nearer to Him. College can be one of the most spiritually transformative times in your life. If you give these next four years to Christ, He’s going to give you back more than you ever dreamed of receiving.
When you wake up, you look at your floor, strewn with t-shirts, phone numbers of friends, and your journal. You remember the moments that challenged you, the resolutions you made to make changes in your life: to delete the songs on your computer, to change who you hang out with, and to basically be the Mother Theresa of the tenth grade.
Okay wait I was NOT TRYING TO DO THAT… What had happened to my idea of a healthy relationship? I was a Catholic gal who wanted to date and marry a nice boy. And I had been to enough retreat dating workshops to know that hooking up with random strangers in supply closets was not exactly the path to my ultimate relationship goal of a man who would come with me to Mass and go on mission trips with me.
May is when it gets real. The predictable routine of school is about to end and suddenly you realize that you’re not 100% sure what the future holds. When I started college as a freshman, I assumed that life was now on a set track — I’d meet and fall in love with my future husband around the middle of my junior year so we could be engaged by the time we graduated and get married in the summer. We’d both get great jobs, acquire a house with a white picket fence, live happily ever after with our dog and three kids and be active volunteers in our local Catholic Church. I had seen this story unfold in the lives of others, so I figured it would be mine, too.
I’ve noticed that sometimes we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation the same way I received Mousetrap so many years ago. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation are that it “increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit” in us (#1303). The same gifts of the spirit prophesied by Isaiah in the Old Testament. The same Holy Spirit that descended on the apostles at Pentecost and empowered them to carry the news of Christ to the ends of the known world and even die martyr’s deaths.
When it comes to this, “what happens on spring break stays on spring break” couldn’t be further from the truth. The decision to abuse alcohol and drugs aren’t just harmful to you and those around you — the consequences can follow you long after your flip-flop tan fades.
hen comes the worst part, when they show the faces of the losers. The faces of those who missed finishing third by mere hundredths of a second or whose artistic interpretation earned them a score that left them in fifth place. Frozen tears running down their cheeks, I often find myself crying along on the couch, not because of the medal they missed out on that day, but of all the moments in life they’d missed to bring them to that point.
I’m not one who likes to admit to having feelings, but when I arrived at their house and met Jimmy and Sarah’s son, I couldn’t stop crying. This little guy had been through so much and was so very wanted. He was wanted by his birth mother, whose love for him gave her the courage to choose life for her son. He was wanted by his birth father, who loved his son and supported his girlfriend through her pregnancy. Together they picked out Jimmy and Sarah to be their son’s forever family.
I loved (and still love) being Catholic. I loved belonging to my parish, to my youth group, to the choir, and to the picnic committee. I wanted to be involved in anything that allowed me to express my faith. However, I now realize that sometimes my zeal for my faith made me act like I was part of an exclusive club — not the Body of Christ on earth, commissioned to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
A couple years ago, my friends and I decided to walk The Camino de Santiago — the way of St. James. One of the oldest pilgrimages in the world, besides Rome and Jerusalem, the Camino ends in Santiago, Spain. We began at one of the designated pilgrim departure spots in Saint-John-Pied-de-Port, in France, and spent […]
Last year I drove past the local mall and was surprised to see what appeared to be a giant tapestry hanging between two construction cranes. I’m talking several stories high. Curious, I took a closer look and was appalled to realize it was actually ladies underwear. Hundreds and hundreds of bras, hooked together and strung […]
A few years ago I felt my relationship with God was kind of “meh” so I asked a priest I knew, Father Chris, for advice. “Are you attending mass every day?” Father Chris asked. Keep in mind, I worked at a church that offered mass twice a day. All I had to do was walk […]
It’s finally here. The week that the Discovery Channel brings us marathon programming meant to help us better understand sharks. As I write this, a great white shark the size of a Winnebago is chomping a seal in half while guys in windbreakers film on a rocking boat. My favorite part of shark week is […]
When I returned to my hometown on the beach after my first year of college, I took a summer job waitressing at a restaurant that was popular with the folks on vacation. I was in a different world. Instead of classes and meetings my time was ruled by the breakfast, lunch and dinner shift and my mood could rise and fall depending on how well my table understood the principle of tipping on 15% of the total check.
As a kid I remember being super excited for a road trip from Massachusetts to New Jersey to visit my grandparents. In my five year old brain, 'New Jersey' might as well have been the moon and a week was basically forever. I had to pack accordingly. Pulling bags out the closet I filled them with my stuffed animals, dolls, books, art supplies, my sticker collection and a panda poster.
The chair had a problem though. While I could sit in it, drink coffee, talk on the phone, and do homework unaffected, I was the only one. For everyone else, it was the 'crying chair.' Girls that had been frolicking through the hallway singing N'Sync (which was our One Direction) would see that my door was open and, upon entering and sitting down, would burst into tears. I would sit on my standard-issue desk chair and nod, sympathetically, while they poured out their hearts.