In my life, I have been a musician, a certified music teacher, an attorney and a college professor. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. I used to know God on a very limited, impersonal basis, not unlike many of my gifted and talented college friends, because I think we all saw ourselves as self-made, not needing anyone else, including God. We were talented and smart, and with few exceptions, we attributed all of our gifts to our own hard work. We did not see our talents as the tremendous gifts from God that they truly are. We were fiercely independent, as many young people are today, and sadly, we saw no need for Him.
It was not until after I was attacked in my bedroom by an unknown assailant in 1998, that I had to cry out to God in desperation, for the first time ever. Truly, I credit this horrible assault as having been the event that led me back to the heart of God, and although it makes little sense to many people, I now see it as an enormous blessing that our Lord permitted this evil. It was then when I was at my lowest, and I began to finally see that everything I had and everything I could do with my mind and my hands were all a gift from God. Of course this knowledge did not come overnight, but in God’s perfect time in the years which followed. With my first desperate call to Him, and with the hope that He might hear me, He brought me out of darkness and back into the light. I realize now that He was always there, but that my cold heart was not ready to see Him or hear Him until I had nowhere else to turn.
It was a few years after the attack, that I had a dream. Suffice it to say, I found Jesus in this dream. His demeanor and the love and gentle peace that accompanied His presence gave me great joy. I did not know it was Him at the time, but when He put His hands on mine and looked into my eyes, I knew I had found love. The dream was a gift and it worked in my life to help me begin to change my cynical perspective.
This dream occurred around the same time that I was miraculously healed from the PTSD associated with my attack. I had traveled with a friend to Ottawa to see a holy and humble priest friend of his. When Father Kane was introduced to me and he looked at me, he held my glance and a peaceful smile came over his face. He spent the next few minutes alone with my friend and my friend’s daughter, and when they left his office, he asked me to come in. We spoke for a few minutes, and he asked if he could pray for me. He was well known for his healing of the memories, although I had no idea what that meant. I thought he was very kind to pray with me, as he read a gospel and then prayed over me in tongues before we said our goodbyes. I thanked him and he was so gracious and kind and filled with joy. I did not expect to be healed because it did not make any sense to me how you could live with these memories and then still have them but not the nightmares and flashbacks. It was not until a few weeks later that I recognized that I had no more nightmares, flashbacks or panic attacks. I have been 100% fine ever since then, with absolutely no recurrence. Thank you, Jesus!
Some time after that, I was feeling called to spend time in silence at the Church, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and so I made an effort to regularly do so. Then, one day, while I was in the church alone, I heard an audible voice telling me that I needed to forgive the man who attacked me. I was alone in the Church, so this surprised me. I looked around, and then went back to my contemplation. I heard it again, looked around again, and then said, out loud, “Lord, I don’t know what you are asking me to do! I have no ill will toward this man. I am healed. It’s over. But if you want me to then, FINE. I forgive the man who attacked me. I forgive him for the scars on my body. I forgive him for the lost years and the darkness….” I went on and on in a litany of everything I felt I had lost, until I had nothing more to say, and then I heard just as clearly, that I must be praying for this man’s conversion, as if it was an emergency. And so I did.
Over the months which followed, I prayed rosaries and Chaplets and asked for intercession by my friends and all the saints in heaven. I wrote the story and my intentions for him, on every prayer intention slip I could get my hands on, and I am confident that I will see him in heaven someday. I look forward to it, and I am happy about it. I know he is my new brother in Christ Jesus, and in a bizarre way, He brought me to Him. I forgive him, and I love him. The unfathomable Divine Mercy of our Lord began to take on a great importance to me. I was given a great gift of mercy and understanding, and through this gift, I began to appreciate the depth of love the Father has for each and every one of us, as well as the depth of sorrow for sin. I treasure this incredibly beautiful gift from our most generous Beloved, the Divine Giver. Maybe someday I will tell you more about it.
One of the first overt callings I had from Christ was when I made my Cursillo in October 2004. The weekend was almost over, and I ended up being inadvertently seated alone in the Chapel. I began to have a strong feeling of all of the abandonment I had ever felt in my life, including the attack, and then I looked up at Jesus on the cross, and for a brief moment, I was able to share in His abandonment on the cross, along with all of the pain and suffering that entailed. It was only for a moment and then it was replaced with the most incredible joy I had ever known. I knew for the first time that Jesus was with me always and that I was never alone, no matter what. I knew He was calling me to bring Him to everyone, everywhere, especially given the theme for that weekend, Pope John Paul II’s “Go, therefore, and be Messengers of Joy!” I could think of nothing else and I longed to be His Messenger of Joy, joining forces with Him in every way I possibly could. It was through this Cursillo weekend, there began an unquenchable fire burning in my heart that has only grown and will never be extinguished.
There have been many wonderful experiences and moments close to God in the years since then, and I have longed to give my life to Him as a missionary sister, giving up all of my worldly possessions to follow Him wherever He called me. I began to wonder if it might only be the desire of my heart and not a call from God, because I had prayed, and He did not remove the obstacles or give me any insight as to how to resolve my school loan debt so that I could leave to bring Him to those living in darkness. All that changed at the beginning of 2009.
In early 2009, I became acutely aware of the gifts God was giving me in every part of my life. I had adopted St Therese’s quote as my own, “He gives me whatever I want, because I want whatever He gives.” I was trying to come to terms with the thought that perhaps God had me right where He wanted me, continuing to use my law office as a ministry, and that I should begin to find new ways to bring Him to my clients and neighbors, as perhaps He was not calling me to a religious order after all. But I soon found that was not true. He brought a profound sense of peace to my heart and made it clear that I was, in fact, going to serve Him in this way. He made it clear that the school loans would not be an obstacle and that I must learn to surrender. I did this in small ways as rectora of the October 2009 Women’s Cursillo, but it was not until the week after the cursillo that He made His way clear to me.
I had been seeking religious orders out on the internet, and I found myself disheartened by their lack of orthodoxy and worldly ways. I was trying to make things happen by use of my senses and abilities, and of course that never works without prayer, so I began praying the Memorare every day for the specific intention of giving my vocation to Jesus through His Mother, Mary. I had long been consecrating myself to Him through her Immaculate Heart, and now I knew I had to completely surrender my vocation and simply wait for the answers to be revealed.
It was Sister Regina at St Gabriel’s Monastery in Clarks Summit who told me of the peace she felt and such joy when the Daughters of Mary were in the house. She said she thought of me right away. So I called, spoke to the vocation director, Sr. Mary Alma, and she sent out 2 brochures. As soon as I received them, I felt a peace wash over me. I loved the Marian spirituality and orthodoxy! Sr. Alma was so filled with joy in her emails and phone calls that I wanted to come right away to see if God was calling me to New Britain. After a good visit and many affirmations, I am confident that He is, and I long for the day when He will bring me to the convent. I know He has a plan for this, and I look forward to seeing Him reveal His Plan and those whom He has called to help.
God has been calling me all of my life. He has called me through dreams, through scripture, and through the communion of saints. He has called me through good friends, holy people and the confessional. He has been calling me over and over and over again, and the time is now to give Him everything.