CALLED BY THE LORD

 

Witness is given by Sister Christiana
 

   My calling came to me in a flash! Instant. Forceful. Clear. I was a five-year-old and watching TV. On the screen flashed a commercial for the airlines. It showed an enticing world of adventure, excitement, glamour. There was an attractive flight attendant pictured and I thought: "That's what I want to be!" I was truly fortunate to have all vocational dilemma behind me so early in life. All that remained for me was to set out towards achieving my goal. Or so I thought at that all-intelligent and wise age.

 

   I had once thought of becoming a missionary, because I really wanted to do something with my faith for others. This childhood desire was still in my mind when I went to business college, majoring in travel and airlines. I just loved traveling, and after college I was hired part-time with a domestic airline as a ticketing and gate agent. This was great! Now I could travel at almost no cost Although I was very attracted to Sisters whenever I saw them, still I wanted to be wealthy-- or at least comfortable-- and travel and, of course, get married.

 

   In order to go into full-time work with an airline, I had to transfer to New York City. Being from a small town, I was thrilled at the prospect of living in a big city. However, I had grown closer to God and did not want to lose my faith, so I prayed that He would not allow me to go if it would endanger my faith. I found out that this move was His will. I visited New York to look for an apartment but, not finding anything suitable, I returned home. Then a friend called me. She was moving to New York, had an apartment from the airlines and needed a roommate! Great! And the apartment was only two blocks from St. Francis of Assisi parish!

 

   I was only in New York City a short time when I was transferred to Cleveland, Ohio. Before I could even go to Cleveland to look for an apartment, a friend of mine living there called saying that she was moving to another apartment and was looking for someone to move in with her roommate. Once more, everything worked out well, and my new apartment was only a five-minute drive from church. The Lord had finally got me to the city He wanted me in, and now He had to work on changing my mind about marriage!

 

   I was dating casually, and the man I was going with became upset with me over my religion. "Why don't you become a nun?" he asked. I surprised myself by responding, "I don't feel that is what the Lord is calling me to, but if that is what He wants, I'll do it!" Did I say that?! Sometime later we broke up, and I began dating someone else.

 

   One day, in the summer of 1988, I was reading a book about Our Lady. To a favored soul to whom she appeared, Mary said, "I want you to wait one year before making any decisions about your future." This statement, for some reason, really struck me. It seemed intended for me personally, because the person I was dating at the time was one whom I would have considered for marriage. I thought to myself: Mary, if you mean that for me, you will have to obtain some special grace to prevent me if it would come to a question of marriage! A month later I was reading my Bible and happed to turn to 1 Corinthians, Chapter 7, where St. Paul says, "If you ware free of a wife, do not go in search of one." This Scripture passage hit me with such force that I burst into tears. It felt so clearly and absolutely directed to me, as though St. Paul were standing in front of me and saying to me directly. Now I knew that something was going on, and I couldn't ignore it any more.

 

   One day I was at work on the jetway, waiting for the plane to land so I could drive the jetway up to it. In that moment I sensed so profoundly that things in my life were going to change. The image came to my mind of window shutters and doors being closed upon my present life. I knew that I would not be at my airlines job, much longer. But it was not perfectly clear what the exact change would consist in. I was still dating and still trying to hang on to what I wanted, but, then, the Lord stepped in again. The man I was dating called me one evening and, out of the blue, broke off our relationship. I was upset, but even as he was telling me, there was a sense of underlying peace and I knew that this was God's will.

 

   One day I was watching EWTN. A program spoke of an organization, Apostolate for Family Consecration. It told of young people who were actively living their faith through ministry in this apostolate. I got in touch with this group and went to Wisconsin to see for myself. There I found many young people who committed themselves to remaining single and working for the Lord through this ministry. I still wasn't so sure about this matter of staying single.... but their lives were beautiful, and so dedicated. Their spiritual director gave me the book TRUE DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY by St. Louis de Montfort. Later, I made the Act of Total Consecration described there. I finally felt at home with the idea of becoming a religious. After reading THE DIARY OF SISTER FAUSTINA, which I had heard about on EWTN, I knew I wanted to give all to Jesus in a contemplative form of religious life.

 

   Consulting a priest about contemplative communities, I learned about the Poor Clares on Rocky River Drive. What he told me about this community seemed to correspond with what I desired, so I visited  the monastery in April of 1989. Mother Abbess and the Directress spoke with me and gave me literature about their way of life. After reading it, I wrote and asked to apply for entrance to this Poor Clare community. I sold my car, resigned from my job and entered the monastery on August 15, 1989.

 

   Once I entered, I was very happy. I could clearly see that this is what I had been longing for all the while! As the years pass, my happiness only increases and every step in the religious journey is more than I could have hoped for. Now, when I hear a jetliner roar over the monastery (we are very close to the Cleveland John Hopkins Airport!), I can truly say, "Bon voyage, brother! I have a different journey to make. You may go high and far, but my land of adventure is more alluring to me. And the One who awaits me is the Greatest Lover."