I came back to Saint Benedict's early in 2006 for a three-month visit, intending to use this partly as a time to discover what I wanted to do in the future. I teetered around the whole question of whether I might have a religious vocation, and spent nine weeks exploring why I couldn't possibly have one! I couldn't have one if I didn't want one - right?
Somewhere in the back of my mind was the lurking thought that I should maybe get this vocation thing into the open and come to a reasoned conclusion as to why I did not have one. I had a wonderful spiritual director in one of the sisters and with her, alongside other things, I began to explore this lurking feeling of vocation. I prayed for an open heart but, at a kind of subterranean level, I hoped that I would be able to banish the idea of a religious call further into the shadows, rather than bringing it out into the light. I wanted to listen to God, but I also wanted Him to say what I wanted to hear. Yet, beyond that, I always wanted to follow where He led me. If this sounds muddled, all I can say is that it is often murky in my mind. I do not follow a clearly lit, straight path, taking a planned stop every now and then to apply a crystalline analysis to my situation.. More usually, I swim around in cloudy water, hoping to find the surface but not always sure what direction it's in, but I believe if we are truly seeking, eventually we hear the still, small voice guiding us.
Here, I'd like to dispel any idea that, if you show interest in a religious vocation, monasteries are out to grab you. My director helped me to explore my thoughts and perceptions: she absolutely never pushed me to one conclusion or another. I am very grateful for this because when I finally heard God's voice, I was sure it was between God and me alone, no-one else's voice was interfering in the background.