Friday, January 3, 2014


Well, it's come.  This has been quite the adventure, hasn't it?  I've "met" so many amazing people and learned so much from blogging.  I've let out the things whirling through my brain, and you've appreciated them.  So many of you have appreciated them.  Thank you for that.  Thanks for reading this little blog, thanks for your prayers, and thanks for your encouragement.  Thanks for existing.

I'm not very eloquent with good-byes.  I don't enjoy them and I don't like them to be prolonged.  So I haven't much to say, except thank you and goodbye.  I will be praying for you.  God bless you all.

In Christ,

Soon-to-be-Sr. Victoria

I was going to take a picture of myself waving goodbye, but I didn't, so this will have to do.

"So, when did you first decide that you wanted to be a nun?"

People ask me this all the time.  Those more in tune with the whole process also ask me what my discernment process was like, how long it took, and similar questions.  I love all of them -- to anyone who ever asked me something about becoming a Sister, thank you.  I get excited for every opportunity to talk about it. 

In view of that, I have typed up the whole story of my experiences thus far, for your reading pleasure and hopefully edification at the goodness of God to one little insignificant, very imperfect girl.  This will also be my second-to-last post -- I will do one more, tonight or tomorrow, saying goodbye.  And then that's it! 

Oh yeah, and still nobody has told me that I need to delete anything, so it seems like this blog will be staying around.  (I just obviously won't be updating it.)

Okay.  Now for the "autobiography."  If something is vague, by the way, it was done on purpose.  I can't reveal all my life to the internet.

I've wanted to be a nun since I was very small: six years old, to be exact.
It is no coincidence that this happened in the same year my family stopped going to the Novus Ordo: you may roll your eyes, but I know that had much to do with it.  My mother bought me a children's life of St. Therese that Christmas, and that year or the next we read a life of St. Margaret Mary as our bedtime story-book.  I guess my vocation (if vocation it truly be) came through them.  St. Therese taught me the beauty of religious life; St. Margaret Mary taught me about its suffering.  After that I devoured every saint-book I could find, especially the ones about nuns: St. Catherine of Siena, St. Rose of Lima, St. Catherine Laboure, and many more.

I continued in this sort of daydreaming desire to become a Sister for many years, until my family left Germany, where we had been living, and returned to the US, where we lived on an Army base in KS.  There were tons of other kids to play with (none of which were religious in any way), and I was nearing my teens by that point, so I sort of stopped thinking about being a nun.  It wasn't that I decided I didn't want to be a nun, but just that I was surrounded by a secular culture which simply could not stop discussing who liked whom and what they would do when they started dating, and I was immersed in it.  This state began at age ten and was pretty bad for the next two or three years.  After that, I sort of "allowed" the possibility of entering religious life back into my mind, but I still didn't take it seriously.

  Finally, one Sunday when I was fifteen, maybe sixteen, a group of Dominican Sisters showed up unexpectedly at our church.  They gave a presentation on their life after Mass, and my parents stayed (a bit of a sacrifice: we had a long drive home) until it was over.  I remember looking at the slides while the Sister spoke, and my eyes filling up a bit.  This was what I wanted.  Nothing else would do.  I fiddled around for months, and then eventually I contacted the Dominicans' Mother Superior and discussed things.  They were in New Zealand, which I admit added significantly to the attraction.  I emailed Mother Superior back and forth for a few more months, and then, having concerns about a certain policy, asked the proverbial wrong question.  She never wrote back.  I was disappointed and a little bitter.  So finally, one day I talked to one of our priests about it.  He told me that if it didn't work out, it was obviously because God didn't want it, and that for all I knew, He may have saved me much more heartache than I had presently to deal with.  That really helped me, and I waited fairly patiently for something else to happen.

Just over a year ago, finally things got moving again.  My good friend Victoria invited me to come with her to a retreat given by the Daughters of Mary in NY.  My parents gave permission, I went, and instantly I fell in love with all of it.  But of course, it wasn't half as easy as I had expected.  Again there was a policy that caused trouble, but it was a lot worse this time, and I struggled for about seven months to bring myself in line with the group's opinions.  In that time, I spent a week at the convent, and loved it even more.  I was determined to overcome the issue.  So eventually I convinced myself that I agreed with the policy, and was allowed to proceed.  I started getting everything together, filled out papers, had a physical.  Most importantly, I had to finish highschool, because my diploma was a required part of the application papers.  I spent about two months frantically writing papers and crying half-heartedly over how impossible it was, drinking tea, and taking tests with little preparation.  I finished about six months' worth of French II lessons in one month.  I'm still inordinately proud of that.

So finally, by the end of July I had everything but a letter of recommendation from our priest.  I requested that, and waited impatiently.  On August 1st, the priest came to our house to talk to me and my parents.  Long story short, he convinced me of my error in ignoring the issues with the congregation I wished to join, and recommended that I wait and pray about what I should do.  So I did.  Before the conversation, I had intended to override whatever he said, but it made too much sense, and God gave me the grace to obey His Will, spoken through His servant.  I had been supposed to enter at the end of September, so I had to call the Novice Mistress and tell her that I wouldn't be coming after all.  She is a very gentle person, and she definitely made this difficult thing easier, for which I thank her.

I started looking into different congregations.  I was torn between the vita mixta, or half-contemplative, half-active way of life lived by most of the congregations I was interested in, and the more difficult to find (and difficult to live) fully contemplative life of a Carmelite.  None of my Carmelite investigations succeeded, however, so I assume it was not God's Will. 

In September, I visited the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas in Arizona, threatening everybody that I was going to dislike it.  I told the Sister in charge all of my problems, and she gave me some advice.  At the time I had little emotional investment in this congregation, but I decided "with my brain" that I should enter there.  Sister recommended that I enter as soon as possible, so I planned to try for the beginning of November.  I came home and told the priest, but he had other ideas.  He wanted me to visit one more convent before I made any more rash decisions.  Of course, when my plan was met with opposition, the convent in Arizona became the most desirably place on the face of the earth; but I could see that Father's plan was prudent, so I acceded with a rather bad grace and began attempting to contact a small Dominican congregation in Michigan.  Finally, with some help from Father, I got a hold of a Sister by phone, and blurted out that I was interested in their convent and could I visit and when, please, Sister?  (I was trying to get the thing over with.)  She told me that I had to write a letter and do things properly.  Annoyed, I wrote the letter and waited complainingly for an answer.  In the meantime, I contacted a wonderful group of Italian Sisters by email, and was just about ready to fly over there to visit.  When I tried to seriously plan it, though, I found that it would take too long, and when I asked the advice of the Sister in charge in Arizona, she recommended that I stay within my own country, and choose what was practical over what was exciting.  She was clearly right, and I agreed (a bit tearfully) and waited for the Dominicans' letter.  It finally came, and for a time we corresponded by snail mail -- just to find out, in the end, that they do not have visitors' accommodations and they would not be accepting postulants until  the end of August 2014.  Frustrated, I informed the priest and begged that he would allow me to dispense with this third visit.  I had found out that if I wanted to enter with the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas, I had to do it by the beginning of January.
Then commenced another month of waiting.  I was getting nervous, because it was almost December and I had no word from Father.  At long last, on December 6th he visited us again and granted his permission.  He added a stipulation, though: I was to visit a certain couple of Sisters in Boston, not to join, but just to "see," saying it would prove useful sometime.  I obeyed happily, not caring what I had to do as long as I could get to Arizona by January 6th.  I started buying up postulant's clothing and getting ready, and I successfully made that Boston visit...gracious, I think only two weeks ago.  I believe I learned much, though it did not go the way Father was imagining, and I gained the prayers of two very holy Sisters.  I'm sure that God organized it the way He did for a very good reason, and I am content.

Now I'm becoming a postulant, God willing, in a matter of days.  I bought the last supplies I needed a few days ago. All I have to do is give my flight information to Sister, wait three days, and say goodbye to my family.

This chapter is almost over, but the story's got plenty more chapters to go.  While I feel certain that this is my vocation, I have learned from experience that God's ways are not ours, and He may require me to leave the convent, for a different one or for the world.  If that happens, I will try to accept it, but for now, this is my path. It is more beautiful than anything else I could ever have imagined, and I am very grateful: to God, to my family, to the priests and Sisters who have guided and prayed for me, and for all of you who have prayed for me as well.  God bless you all.


Sunday, December 29, 2013


Do you understand how blessed we are to have something so beautiful as starlight?  Besides the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, nothing in common experience so brings home to me the glory and grandeur of God as a starry sky.  Of course, you can see the stars as nothing special, if you're so disposed -- small white dots in a seemingly random pattern against an expanse of dark -- or, worse still, you might never look at them at all.  There is, however, something about these little white dots that never fails to entrance you, if you pay attention, even if you know nothing of the staggering science behind them.

Stars have always fascinated mankind, it seems.  We fashion them into constellations and weave them into stories, we name them, study them, watch them -- sometimes we even attach an unlawful power to them.  They inspire poetry and lend their beauty to prose and painting. They're sprinkled through music, from beginners' piano pieces to great compositions.  For heaven's sake, one of the first nursery songs a baby learns is about the beauty and mystery of a star!  Better yet, stars fill the psalms and prophecies of the Bible, praising God and illustrating His promises, leading the Eastern Kings to the newborn Christ in Bethlehem.  Stars seem to have always caught peoples' imaginations and inspired their creativity, and I think it's fascinating. 

I can see some now, actually, glimmering through the skylight.  Some are faint and far-off, but a few are burning bright, so near that it seems I must be able to catch one, if I climbed just a little way into the sky.  I'd pass above the housetops, above the treetops, to a high silver peak in some distant land, and then maybe, just maybe, I could stretch out my hand and close it over a star.  It would be hot and pulsing, terribly bright and whiter than diamonds and snow and winter sun at midday.  Or perhaps it would be frozen cold and hard, like all the brittle jewels of the earth combined, and more precious than even the most prized of them: a sky-jewel, fit for the crown of the Queen of Heaven and Star of the Sea.

How about it, then: will you go star-searching with me?

*all images via tumblr*

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christus Est Natus, Alleluia!

A very merry, bright and blessed Christmas season to all you dear people, and may God bless you abundantly!

Also, apologies for the lack of posts, but I am leaving in ten days and so, as you can probably imagine, blogging is kind of at the bottom of the list!

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Thing that is Happening

I cannot think how to write this post.  I should like to put what I have to say in a way fitting to its importance and general wonderfulness, but I'm at a loss as to how to do that, so I'll just say it out.

I'm going to the convent.

Yes, at long last, it seems to be happening for real.  I obtained permission from the Voice Of Reason and Prudence (my spiritual director, as you may remember from my last post on the subject) to enter the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas on January 6th, Feast of Epiphany and also my parents' wedding anniversary.  This past week has been full of sorting through the accumulation of things in my room, agonizing over who should get which of my beloved books, buying many white oxford blouses, among other things, and trying to process the fact that I am almost certainly going.  One stipulation which the aforementioned Voice made when granting me permission (he is so very brilliant, that Voice) was that I visit these two Sisters who do charity work in Boston first, so on Monday I will be making yet another plane flight to yet another part of the country to visit yet another group of Sisters.  I am very lucky.  I always loved traveling, and I have been able to do quite a lot of it in this past year!  It's a nice gesture from Our Lord, I think, to let me get in so much traveling before I am consecrated to Him and bound to stay, perhaps, in the same place for the rest of my life.  (Of course, I may do more traveling as a Sister than I ever have in the world -- God likes to have His little jokes like that, making me think I'm stationary for good and then moving me all over the place.  We shall see.)

This is the church, Our Lady of the Sun, seen from the side.
As I said, I am having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that I'm going.  I'm so excited, but at the same time I'm a bit bewildered.  I have gotten quite giddy over the whole thing multiple times since permission was given, but I fully realize how serious a thing it is that I am doing.  I have a shadowy idea that really I ought not to attempt to think through it too much.  I have thought and thought and thought for over a year now, and any more thinking is sure to be unhelpful. There comes a point, you know, when the time for thinking is over, and all that's left is to do. I ought simply to relinquish myself to God and just accept whatever He drops on me. 

It's rather unbelievable that I shall be "Sr. Victoria" in a little less than a month.  My mind does a double take when I see that spelled out, it seems so unreal.  But I cannot wait.  I'm looking forward to everything -- even wearing multiple layers under the Arizonian sun.  I can't wait to be anxious that my veil's on straight, that I'm following protocol correctly, that I'm doing well in my classes.  I can't wait for Arizona's strange and foreign appearance waiting for me each morning at 6:30,  for Daily Mass, the entire Rosary, obligatory silence, and the Divine Office.

This is one of the gates to the convent building, seen from the inside.  I love the gates and the ironwork because they make is seem so much more cloister-y.
I'm going to really regret this post if something happens out of the blue and I can't make it, let me tell you -- or if I end up being sent home!  Goodness me.  Please pray for me that everything goes according to God's plan and that I'm not too severe of a trial to my superiors!

Oh yes -- and I have heard from others that sometimes one must delete her social media accounts before entering a convent, so... I may end up having to delete Sunlight and Shadow.  I don't know yet, nobody's said anything, but just so you know.  It may happen.

Happy feast of St. Lucy, by the way!

Arizona as seen from the entrance to the convent.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...