2016 grant recipient candidates to religious life
What made you begin to consider a religious vocation? Was there a particular moment or experience you remember as an “epiphany” that led you to your commitment?
I discerned prior to college. Ever since I was young, I felt called to serving people. Later on, in high school, after I made my Confirmation, I began to get more involved with the church. I had a lot of inspiration from my parish priests.
Cursey James Calais II
Society of St. Joseph
Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
What made you choose the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
One summer afternoon, my parents took me to visit one of the convents where my great aunts—who happen to be Sisters of IHM—were living. When I walked in that convent door, I thought, “There’s something here.” I wasn’t sure what it was, but I looked around at the nuns and how they were treating the people around them and I thought, “Oh my gosh, this might be the thing I’ve been looking for.”
What is your favorite Bible verse?
I have a couple! But my favorite is probably Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It’s actually the underlying theme of one of my favorite books: The Alchemist. It really speaks to how I discovered my vocation: My heart was really drawn to my community.
Sister Mary Mensch SS.C.M.
Sisters of Saints Cyril
Father Greg Dunn, O.P.
St. Martin de Porres
How did your education influence your decision to dedicate your life to an order?
Being at Texas A&M was a big part of my vocation story. I experienced a lot of independence and was making a lot of choices for myself. And I surrounded myself with friends who challenged me. It was great to see the fruitfulness of campus ministry and all the great people doing constructive things there, like retreats and worship and praying together.
Who is your spiritual role model?
I probably have a few, but certainly Our Lady—what better way to go to Jesus than through his mother? And certainly my mom. She’s so loving and caring. She embodies the sacrificial love perfectly.
Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate
Salesians of Don Bosco
What would you tell someone considering a religious vocation but unsure what steps to take or how to tell if it is really for them?
Getting to know the founder of the order was key for me. If I’m going to be a member of that order, then I know I am going to be living the lifestyle of that founder. Creating a relationship with that person and asking for intercession was a huge part of my discernment. Reading about his life and letting him speak to me was important.
What were you doing before you entered this formation program?
I did a year of service after college. I lived in community with brothers and laypeople at this property in New York. I worked in their volunteer program with youth ministry, manual labor ministry . . . and that’s really where I started my discernment.