A new profile — in discernment

I was blown away over the last two months by people’s generosity in helping me pay off my student loans so I can enter the convent at the end of the summer. So many people have been so incredibly good to me. Now I’m sharing the story of a young lady I recently met who is in a similar circumstance. She hopes to join the cloistered Dominicans in Linden, Virginia, but has to pay off some $30,000 in debt first. I know many people have approached me recently asking if they can help, and I’ve had to turn you away as my goals are met. Would you be willing to consider helping my sister instead? She’ll be doing me and my community and the whole Church an incalculable good by devoting her life to prayer. 

But I’ll let her do the talking. Please help her if you can, and help spread the word by sharing her link, or this post, or both!  

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Maria Gonzalez
I am 28 years old, and was raised Roman Catholic since infancy. I thought about becoming consecrated to God in religious life about 4 years ago, immediately after I graduated college in 2010. Like most college experiences, mine was entangled in worldly distractions. This was because I was not firmly rooted in faith as a youth. I mostly went through the motions while in Catholic School. Therefore, I was easily taken by this current once I entered college at the University of New Hampshire. During this time, I did not have the support of positive influences or that of family, nor did I realize that I needed them. I never gave thought to religious life. I slowly stopped attending mass regularly shortly after starting college because I hadn’t found any Catholic fellowship or support on campus. The friendships I made were merely superficial. This left my heart empty and searching for God, though I was unaware of it. When I perceived it, I thought it homesickness. I tried to correct this through dating. The foundation of these relationships were also based superficially, and therefore destined for failure. God then intervened and moved me by his Divine mercy to the healing of these wounds which I was acting out of.
One particular day in May 2010 while in adoration, I was inspired by the awareness of the mercy of the Holy Spirit at work in my life at this time. I was filled with great gratitude in my heart for this, and I felt moved to offer God my life totally. Immediately upon returning to a life of grace, the Holy Spirit was able to inspire me with God’s will which was given to me at baptism, so I started discerning different religious communities. As my relationship with God grew, so did his grace in my soul and his will became apparent to me in the desires of my heart. I knew that I wanted to give my life totally to God and his Church in union and in imitation of Christ crucified for humanity.
So I started studying and contacting contemplative communities. Through discovering St. Dominic and his spirituality, I discovered myself truly. As of Jan. 2014, I have found my life’s dream in a Monastery of cloistered Dominican Nuns in Linden, Virginia. I am greatly honored and thrilled to have found out about my acceptance this January! The only obstacle before I can enter is having to pay off all my student loan debt. This is because as a contemplative cloistered community, the nuns do not work in the world earning income. Therefore, they cannot afford to take on any debt. A nun’s apostolate, unlike active sisters who work in the world such as social work or teaching, consists in the offering of all of their prayers, works, joys, and sorrows for the Church and the world in solidarity with Christ crucified on the cross, as a Eucharistic offering. This is for the salvation of humanity, the success of the preaching mission of the Dominican friars, and the good of the Church. They are considered the powerhouse of prayer for the Church. As St. Therese of Lisieux put so eloquently, “In the Heart of the Church my mother, I will be love.” Nuns mediate the needs of the world to God, and God to the world through their prayer.
I have been actively fundraising on my own through the generosity of my family and friends through my website: www.youcaring.com/sendmariatotheconvent. I will carefully make a record of what each person has given me and acknowledge it in a thank you letter. I have every intention of making final vows and living out my whole life in the monastery. If for whatever reason I leave at any point, I am committed to repaying everyone the full amount donated who made it possible for me to enter through their generosity.
I would be forever grateful and promise to pray for yourself, your loved ones, and your intentions both now and while in the monastery. God bless you.

 

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