As a rookie nurse in intensive care I was assigned to the night shift.
My efforts to maintain a prayer life grew me not only in my nursing, but in the capacity to see the Lord at work beside me. Whether the night held the intensity of a “code,” a patient death, or a long chat with a patient facing a terminal diagnosis, I marveled at a God waiting to be found in everything, a God inviting me into a school of love with each passing moment. One night, I was sitting at the nurse’s station, and grace drew my attention.
After spending my college years struggling to emerge from a self-reliance that crippled my relationship with the Lord and led me to anxiously try to “figure out” my vocation, my soul finally found rest. In this moment, I discovered the love of a Father– one that knew me in the depths of who I was, and set me free in trust and surrender to whatever plans this Love had for my life. I arrived home just as my roommate was waking up. She asked me how the shift went. I was surprised at my reply, “I think I have a vocation to religious life.” She paused, looked at me, and said, “Rachel, you’re tired. Go to bed.”
I awoke with the question of a vocation burning more deeply in my heart and found myself meeting with the diocesan vocations director. He told me to go be quiet before the Lord, pray for the grace to know the deepest desires of my heart, and “pray for the grace not to be afraid of what comes in answer to that question.” My whole soul was filled with a peace I had never experienced before. I went to a nearby Church for Mass, knelt down, and let the Holy Spirit lead my prayer. As it came time to receive the Lord in Holy Communion I knew He was inviting me to receive Him in a new way. The veil of my heart was drawn back, and I beheld what I knew was my deepest desire – God. A loving invitation resounded throughout my soul with gentleness and clarity, “consecrated life with the Sisters of Life…will you come?”
A day or so later I called my mom and struggled to find words to describe the grace that filled my soul and the “yes” that every cell in me wanted to make in response to it. I found myself describing it to her (and everyone thereafter), as a “grace-bomb!” I knew I had found the greater Love I had been waiting for – the Love worth all of mine.