Did you know that there are former Baylor Catholics out there currently pursuing Religious Life? We are going to spotlight three of them in the upcoming weeks. Here is Hillary’s story!
The seed of becoming a nun was first planted in my heart when I was going through Confirmation classes at St. Peter’s in Waco in 2011. Fr. Anthony talked to us about nuns being the brides of Christ, and I remember especially loving the idea of wearing a wedding ring symbolizing that complete consecration. Then I started dating a guy I liked, and I took my dream job working at a camp before taking another dream job working at a nonprofit in Austin, putting off this idea of becoming a nun for about four years. However, the seed that had been planted never died, and it finally reached the point that I had to address this desire within me or I wouldn’t be able to continue my life with peace of mind. After taking off work to hike the Camino de Santiago and visit Fr. Martin, my monk cousin at the Monastero di San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy, it was evident that my heart was longing to seek God in the monastic life. The monks recommended I visit several communities, and after visiting them all it was clear that the Abbey of St. Walburga was a place I could see myself calling home. I felt God’s love there in so many ways, and knew I would regret not returning to the abbey for their three month “live-in” experience.
Those three months were a complete roller coaster. I became very homesick because I’m so close to my family and friends. In fact, I was convinced for the majority of my visit that I would not be returning to St. Walburga’s after the three months were over. I realized during my time there that I could do anything with my life as long as I do it out of love for God, trusting in His Mercy to save me, and that He was not going to force me to be a nun. I found so much freedom in the truth that His will for me is simply for me to humble myself before Him and accept His infinite love and compassion for me, which is wonderful because that’s exactly what we do in the Mass when we confess our sins and receive Him in the Eucharist. From that point onward I knew that He would love me no matter what, whether I decided to be a missionary, raise a family, become a nun, or anything else. However, one week before returning home, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, He gave me the grace to desire to be a fool for love of Him. Although I knew I could do many other things and be pleasing to Him, His love impelled me on that day to resolve to return to Him the most love I possibly can with this short life I have, surrendering to Him my entire being through choosing to live by the same evangelical virtues which Jesus Himself embraced; because He is worth it! He loves us so much. So I asked Mother Maria Michael if I could enter the community, and we set the date for Sept. 8, 2015, which is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please pray for me, that I will persevere in loving and praising God with my whole being and surrender myself to being guided by the Spirit throughout this life journey.