Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Reflecting on National Catholic Sisters Week 2015

by Victoria O'Keefe, St. John's University graduate student

Victoria and Sister Pat Evanick, D.C.,
at the 2015 NCSW conference.
Several months after the National Catholic Sisters Week celebration on the beautiful campus of St. Catherine's University in St. Paul, Minn., I continue to reflect on what I learned there while giving continuous thanks to the Daughters of Charity for their generosity in making that experience a possibility for me!

The many religious women, who spoke at the conference and those who facilitated the program, shared their faith and vocation stories with us, young women from around the United States who have been discerning and continue to. This was of immense insight and relief. In seeing how their true vocations unfolded with their faith placed in God, it eased my worries that I would somehow miss my vocation. I would constantly stress over possibly missing God's call and was awoken to the obvious at the conference: that God calls on us many times throughout our lives. Discernment is an ongoing process.

There were many fun activities through which we got to
know everyone in attendance of the conference. There was time to reflect both in solitude and also with a Sister, and there were many beautiful, prayerful moments shared together.
One of the sessions at the 2015 NCSW conference
I loved seeing the different orders represented and learning further about the many charisms. Perhaps the greatest part was getting to know Sister Pat better, learning of her story and how she came to fulfill her vocation. In many ways, the stories of her spiritual life when she was younger seem parallel to my life now.

I was, and still am, so grateful I had this time to delve deeper into prayer and my own thoughts. The greatest gift I received was the assurance from the many women around me, along with a sense of calm, that I will come to know my vocation in time through both my willingness to serve and full trust placed in the Lord. National Catholic Sisters Week 2015 was a huge success and I am forever grateful to have been a part of it!
Fire pit from Taize prayer during one of evenings of the conference

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