When I was growing up in Michigan I had knowledge of and respect for religious life but certainly did not dream of entering a convent. The only image of religious life I was drawn to was the life of Father Solanus Casey, Detroit’s beloved saint-to-be. While still in grade school, Father Solanus’ simplicity, joy and desire to do the will of God inspired me to begin asking his intercession that I would know and do God’s will with similar joy. As I grew in faith throughout high school, I was open to a religious vocation but made no enthusiastic steps to discern that call. While studying chemistry at the University of Detroit Mercy, I sought deeper faith formation through retreats, Bible studies
and daily Mass. At Detroit Mercy I also found opportunities to encounter the poor in the city and grew in my desire to know the poor more deeply. After my sophomore year, I felt prompted to spend a summer with Christ in the City in Denver, CO, encountering Christ in the poor and in community life. There, I was completely removed from everything I considered safe and comfortable. I moved into a house with strangers from across the country, and then went to the streets every day to form relationships with more strangers. I spent what was, at first, an uncomfortable amount of time in daily prayer, and yet in all the discomforts I felt authentic joy. Through encounters on the street I received a love for Christ in the poor. Through community life I received a new understanding of the joy of religious life, and through prayer I received a desire to answer the invitation to discernment.
I learned of the CFRs from a few friends, and felt compelled to visit the sisters after noticing a webpage for the Fr. Solanus Soup Kitchen the sisters run in East Harlem. When I arrived, I felt the desires of my heart for joy, simplicity, and a ministry of presence completely satisfied. I witnessed beauty beyond what I had desired in the sisters’ love for and attentiveness to one another. I saw clearly a life modeling the spirituality of Fr. Solanus that I had always loved and felt I had found a home. In May 2019, I graduated with my B.S. in chemistry and in God’s supreme generosity, moved to Blessed Solanus Casey Convent in September, with the first class of postulants to live in Fr. Solanus’ former home.