by Sr. Marie Christine Cervi, SND
To be honest, I had no clue that God was even a part of my life, let alone calling me to religious life, until I was in high school. My first encounter with the God who cared about me and my “little” life came junior year. Before that I figured I was just one unknown entity in the mass of humanity that God loved. My relationship with God began when I felt hurt because two friends talked freely in my presence about an upcoming TEC Retreat they excitedly anticipated without a clue that I felt left out and uninvited. One night after a phone conversation, I dejectedly flopped onto my bed and said, “God you handle this.” That was the first time I really ever talked to God about something that was hurting me or really important to me. After that I felt God was closer than I realized. At my own TEC Retreat I began to get to know him better.
My senior year I sent a Christmas card to one of my teachers, a Sister, and asked if I could meet with her sometime to talk about religious life and my future. I was so bold but I wanted to learn more because I knew absolutely nothing about Sisters. As a yearbook photographer I used to get a pass to leave class to take pictures, but instead I met with Sister. After that, I realized that my desire for a close relationship with God could be fulfilled as a religious sister.
By spring I got up the courage to tell my parents, but they didn’t think I was serious. They told me that I’d forget about it once I went to college and if after four years of college I still felt like I wanted to be a Sister then I could pursue it. Well, I went to college for a year, turned 19, and decided that if I didn’t try religious life I would never know for sure if it was right for me. I told my parents I was going to enter the community that summer. I figured I would give it a try, knowing I could always leave if it wasn’t a good fit for me. About a month after I had entered, my parents saw that I was happy and then became the greatest fans of the Sisters!