Today we have a guest speaker, Mary Didier who graciously consented to my request to tell her vocation story to you. Mary is seriously discerning her vocation with us and she is a regular visitor here at Poor Clare Hopefuls.
Hello, J My name is Mary Didier and I was asked if I would like to tell my vocation story. It is rather long but I’ll do my best to condense it as much as I can.
Ever since I was little I would always pray in my bed every night to God for He can give me the best husband that had ever walked this earth and to have as many children as He could give me. I wanted this so much and I had faith in my prayers so much that I knew God would give me those very special gifts. I did not think, however, that he had something else in mind…
Time had gone by and then I started college. Here at my college there is a wonderful Catholic Student Ministry (we call it Wisdom!) and it was during my freshman year my faith grew in such a radical way: I was with friends who shared the same beliefs as I did and I became on what I can only say was a “spiritual high.” However, I remember one time I was in the Church thanking God for his many graces and then heard something say to my heart “Give me more.” I told God I did not understand and I was giving him all I got, but there was always the same words that spoke to my heart, “Give me more!” Deep down I think I always knew what he wanted from me but it was not part of my plans and so I ran away from it, causing me great anxiety.
One day I was walking to class and my anxiety was so great that I screamed out loud for relief, "God help me!" Everyone looked at me and my face turned red. But then a thought came to me, "Call Mrs. Deborah." (She is a wonderful woman who allows the Holy Spirit to talk through her. You must be careful when you hear people who can do this. Sometimes they are not of the Holy Spirit and they allow the evil one to take the place of the Holy Spirit. However, she goes to my parent’s parish and so I knew her to be the real deal.) So after class I called Mrs. Deborah and she said that my Dad called her in September because he was worried about me and after he called her the Holy Spirit allowed her to write down three scripture passages (she wrote them down in September and it was march when I called her):
15 Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved, ah, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves!
16 Ah, you are beautiful, my lover-yes, you are lovely. Our couch, too, is verdant;
17 the beams of our house are cedars, our rafters, cypresses.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready.
8 She was allowed to wear a bright, clean linen garment." (The linen represents the righteous deeds of the holy ones.)
...and the virgin's name was Mary.
We then talked for a bit more and she prayed over me for I may accept God’s will and when she hung up I was mad! The first thing I did was run to the adoration chapel and fall to my knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I told God why give me such desires to be a mother and not let me become one?! I told him right then and there that I would leave the Catholic Church because I will not have Him force me against my will. (I am not proud of what I told God then and I believe I will never be proud of that. I think that is why I have so much respect for women that join religious life without even hesitating. They are good strong women to do that and I myself do not deserve the same blessing as they do.) I went to bed that night angry but when I woke up I realized how could I leave the Catholic Church when She has everything I need, the Eucharist. I went back to the adoration chapel. I had to trust that if God wanted me to join the religious life then he would give me the desire to do so. So I stayed and prayed and cried for a while. My whole life plan seemed ruined but you remember that saying that "God laughs when you tell him your plans"? I don't believe He laughs, I believe he holds you close and cries with you because he knows how much those plans mean to you. And He will be patient until you finally come around to what He has always had planned for you. And his plans, my friends, are much better than our plans. Full of Joy!
It was not until that summer that I finally and happily said yes to Christ and when I look back I do realize how much of a silly and sappy girl I was to behave in such a way. I told my family and they were all exited. My Mom was so happy that she cried and my Dad said that he knew it all along. I was happy that they were behind me on this but God still wanted me to grow. After a while I felt like God still wanted me to give him more and after a year of not understanding what he wanted from me I finally understood that maybe I should look into contemplative life. I remember talking to God saying, “Ok, if you really want me to pursue this then you give me the order that you want to look into and I’ll go from there.”
I have a friend who is discerning with the Nashville Dominicans and we went to visit them in New Orleans for a weekend. They told me if I was discerning and I said yes I was and lately I have been feeling a pull to contemplative life. I told them I was looking into Franciscan spirituality and one of the sisters told me that they know of Poor Clares who live in Barhamsville Virginia and the spirit of St. Clare is definitely in their monastery. Now, usually when people give me information on orders my heart is closed to them but this time my heart was open and I took the written information happily and emailed the Poor Clares the next day. The Mother Abbess was so nice and very patient with me. She sent me information on their order and spirituality and I fell in love with it and soaked it up like a sponge. I even had a chance to visit them and really enjoyed myself there; the food was great, their land was beautiful, and the sisters were even more beautiful! However, I do believe that before I came I did have a romantic notion about the Poor Clares and so staying there made me realize that you really do have to be called to be one. And oh! How I really wanted to! (And still do of course!) I was scared when I left their monastery that God would not want me to join them and I started to feel like I should also look into the Carmelites, but when I did look into them more I realized that I did not have the Carmelite Spirituality. I must say that when you are looking for an order you need to pick one that you do not have to change your true self with. For God made your personality and if you join an order where you are not fitting into then that would mean that you are probably not called to it. That is what I found out with the Carmelites, that if I joined them I would have to change myself. Keep in mind though that when you do enter an order changes do happen, but the change is spiritual change. This spiritual change is necessary and the biggest change ever; you will begin to talk, walk, pray, work, and do many other things differently. Yet, this spiritual change should never change you. Because God made yourself the way he wanted to do it and if you pretend to be someone you are not then it will end up killing the soul instead of making it grow.
After I looked into the Carmelites more and surrendered myself to God’s will I discovered that St. Therese (my patron saint) was taking my hand and giving me to St. Agnes. In order to be sure that the Poor Clares were for me I had to stop leaving God out of the equation. I had to pray and bring him back into my life and when I included Him in my future that is when He began to lead me to the Poor Clares. I still beg God everyday for the graces to be a Poor Clare and one day I do hope to join the Poor Clares in Virginia but right now I know God wants me to remain in college (much to my disapproval). Maybe there is still something he needs me to do here, but until then I will keep the faith and always be thanking Him for His great kindness. I hope you all did something out of my story and I am so sorry it is long so God bless the person that finishes reading it.
Pax et Bonum!