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What gets you up in the morning?

July 5, 2011

By Sister Jenny

This is an interesting question and becomes more so when posed by a fifth grader. I was at a Catholic school recently and I was doing a few talks in different classrooms about being a Sister. The kids were really interested and asked great questions. My favorite question was “What gets you out of bed in the morning?” followed by “How do you know every day when you get up that you want to be a Sister of Mercy?” I think this kid has a future as a spiritual director.For those reading this who don’t know what a spiritual director is, it is basically someone who helps you see and reflect deeper on where God is in your life. So back to the room full of fifth graders… I stood there thinking what in the world am I going to say to that. I can’t remember what I said but it was something about prayer and seeing God in all that I do every day.

Later when I thought about it I smiled to myself and thought, “How do I know every day that I want to be a Sister of Mercy?” This was not a new question I have asked myself and God this many times during this 5 year journey with Mercy. It is all about listening, and believe me sometimes I would like to tune God out. I mean, there is plenty to distract me: my iPod, my cell phone, my computer, Facebook, friends.

The first time that the thought about being a sister came to me, I was a Mercy Corps Volunteer in Guyana, South America. I was in Guyana because I was trying to find where God wanted me and unable to even think about being a sister. I did the next best thing and volunteered with Mercy Corps. I said out loud “Yeah, right, God. You must be crazy.” It’s a good thing no one was around to think that I actually might be crazy. That same night, three sisters came to our house. I had first met them several years before as a volunteer in Philadelphia.

So there I was, sitting with the other volunteers and unprompted, the sisters started talking about their vocation stories, sharing the moment in their lives they knew they wanted to become a sister. Their stories were so much like mine: resistance, fear, and a desire to love God in a way that was best for them. I sat there thinking, “Okay, just breathe deeply. They have no idea you are thinking about it. I mean, I had only let the thought form that very day. Give me a break, God.”

Among the sisters were two Guyanese women and one American woman. And yet there were so many similarities in our desires to become a Sister of Mercy. I went to my room after the sisters left and wrote to God in my journal, “Okay I get it. I’m listening.” The answers God continues to give are small and could go unnoticed without prayer and reflection. Sometimes I wish God would be as clear as that day in Guyana and yet, it is in the listening in many small ways that connects me to God and says, “Yes, Jenny, you are supposed to be a Sister of Mercy .”

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