Sister Jeanne Marie of Merciful Love
Growing up as a cradle Catholic, I was a natural ‘seeker’ and loved to wander and ponder, seeing life as an exciting adventure. Before entering Carmel, I had a wonderful marketing career at Polaroid. However, over the course of those twelve years, I was, slowly but surely, drawn by God to search for a deeper meaning to my life. To discover my true vocation.
St. Augustine and St. Therese of Lisieux had the view that ‘All is grace’. Vocation involves recognizing and accepting Our Lord’s ever-flowing grace. God is the Master Architect, and everyone has an important role to play in His plan of salvation. Each of us has our own blueprint with desires that are unique within the Mystical Body of Christ.
Early in my vocation discernment, I resonated with St. Teresa of Avila’s way of praying. This method was founded on a loving relationship with Jesus where prayer is simply being alone with Him; looking at Him, sharing His friendship, loving Him and allowing oneself to be loved.
As I reflect back during those years of discernment, my need for silence, solitude, prayer and the beauty of nature increased. In addition, my desire to be with God and to be of service to others grew. All this happened in a very natural progression.
The contemplative Carmelite vocation is an invitation to live in union with God, as love in the heart of the church for the needs of the world. This involves growing in gradual surrender to a gift of total self-offering to God which has the means to transform our lives and the lives of others.
While reading the inspiring book, The Hidden Life, by the Carmelite, Edith Stein, (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), I realized that God was calling me to Carmel. Pondering this beautiful quote of hers stirred me to make the first inquiry into Boston Carmel. Six years later it was printed in my Solemn Profession program:
“One you are joined to the Lord, you become as omnipresent as He is. Instead of offering assistance in one particular place, like a doctor, nurse, or priest, in the power of the Cross you have the ability to everywhere at once, at every scene of misery. Your compassionate love, drawn from the Redeemer’s heart, can take you in all directions, allowing you to sprinkle on every side the Precious Blood that soothes, heals and redeems.”
Read more of Sr. Jeanne Marie’s spiritual journey in her book, Soul Stirrings: Awakening to the Soul Within You
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