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Compelled by the Spirit

A night owl and city girl moved to a little convent in the country. She left behind a life she loved to follow the One she loved! Talk about following the Spirit and being led on an incredible adventure.

I set aside a year to discern a vocation to the Consecrated Life when I was twenty-four years old. I made a daily Holy Hour of Adoration, learned how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, received the Eucharist at daily Mass, lived with other women who were discerning, visited religious communities around the United States, and met monthly with a spiritual director. Dreams of my wedding and future family naturally filled my thoughts throughout my life, but I also felt drawn to ask Jesus if I was to be Consecrated to Him alone.

While explaining my countless fears to a wise religious sister, she gently reminded me that Jesus would not force me to become a sister. Sister Helena told me, “If He is calling you to the Consecrated Life, you will run into His arms.” A few months later I received clarity during a silent retreat. With the guidance of my spiritual director, I resigned from my job, sold my car, donated my clothes, said goodbye to my cell phone, social media profiles, friends, and family and ran into His arms with freedom and joy, completely blind to what the future held.

Discernment of perpetual vows in religious life is typically an eight-year process. The Evangelical Counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience felt burdensome to me at times, but with the gift of Grace, they often became a place of deep union with Jesus who was poor, chaste, and obedient. However, after six years with my community, I was not thriving. Moving out of the convent seemed to be the best way to help me become more fully alive in Christ. During a prayer of deep gratitude for my time of formation with the sisters, my heart heard Jesus’ voice saying, “Go in peace.”  So, once again, I was compelled by the Spirit to set out into the darkness.

Jesus has faithfully remained by my side as we continue this mysterious course. Today, sisters, with Saint Paul, let’s pray that each one of us will have perseverance and know Jesus’ companionship as we run our races.  May the ministry we have received from Jesus bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

Where is the Spirit leading you? Are you resistant or not listening? Take some time to discern with good counsel.

Rose Coleman is a contemplative in action who delights in all things beautiful. Her adventurous heart has traveled many places—from circumnavigating the globe on a ship during college to some years in the convent as a religious sister. Exuberant from her childhood, she is an elementary school teacher who learns so much from her students. You can find out more about her here.

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