This past week was quite busy for us so we’ve been a bit behind in our postings and updates especially on Sister Mary Isabel’s renewal of vows on May 13th. Today is the day Sister physically moved out of the novitiate and into the professed nuns’ dormitory. This is the time when a sister who has completed her fifth year of formation begins her integration into the solemnly professed community. She will assume more responsibilities, attend Chapter meetings and become more involved with the day-to-day business of the house in preparation for her Solemn Vows.
The Mass on Sister’s renewal of vows was celebrated by Fr. Christopher Fadok, O.P. of the Western Dominican Province. It was a happy and blessed day indeed when Fr. Christopher gave a beautiful homily about Mary and her role in the Incarnation. Just as Christ by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary when she gave her fiat, so Sr. Mary Isabel, in her “yes” to a vowed religious life incarnating Christ, especially Christ at prayer. Father reminded us that all of us are called to give our “yes!”
Below is Sr. Mary Isabel of the Angels’ vocation story:
The Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he finds a single pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
Since I was a little child, I wanted to be a nun. It was a mysterious call that attracted me to love prayer and to be with our Lord. The call remained and in some occasions I was again reminded of the it! For instance, when I was in Junior High school, I overheard my sister’s conversation with her classmate about an apostolic Sister who taught them and their impression toward her was unfavorable. Interestingly, the Sister’s name was Sister Dominic! I remember thinking to myself: if I ever become a nun, I would not be a nun like that Sister. Another occasion, in my Senior High school year, I accompanied my classmate to meet a Sister and to talk about her desire to become a religious. I clearly remember the Sister’s response to my friend that “her desire” could be just “an emotion.” I can still recall my friend’s expression because she had a hard time describing her feeling and her desire. I was puzzled by the Sister’s seemingly cold reaction to my friend’s vocation and I thought to myself, again, that if I become a nun, I would not discourage a discerner like that Sister did to my friend.
After I graduated from High School, the thought came again to my mind: “Would you like to enter the convent?” My reply was, “Yes, I will do it, Lord, after I have my degree so I can be useful for you.” Then, I went to college and received my degree in Accounting. Later, I still remembered my promise but I pushed aside the idea because I wanted to become a career woman, to enjoy the world, and to go back to school again and so on. I tried very hard to forget the attraction to become a nun by becoming busy with work, school and friends, until I moved from Indonesia to the United States.
In the United States, I lived in Anaheim, California and I was immediately hooked by churches in the areas I lived because they opened their doors all day to provide the opportunity for people to come and to pray in the Church. The Church’s environment was so inviting and conducive for me that eventually I started to attend daily Mass and found the joy of doing Adoration. Subsequently, I deepened my spiritual life by making a consecration to Jesus through Mary, a consecration to the Guardian Angels and doing the spiritual exercise of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The spark of my vocation was rekindled but this time I understood that the purpose of my life is to love God and to do His will. So, I opened my heart and my mind and asked the Blessed Mother and my guardian angel to help me to discern and to do God’s will.
During a retreat in 2006, I said my “fiat” to be a nun. I knew from the beginning that I would have a lot of obstacles, especially the opposition from my family and other difficulties. My reason to say “yes” was an act of faith, my life was in God’s hand and He could do anything if He wanted to. The next step, then, was to find out what religious life is about since I knew nothing about it. Interestingly enough, I bumped into a program on EWTN late at night at the moment when I was complaining to God that I had no clue about religious life. The program was called “Completely Christ’s — The Radical Call of the Consecrated Life” by Life Work. The program was truly Divine Providence! Afterward, I attended a one-day event called “7-11 Ministry Day” sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was an awesome and valuable event because I met many men and women who were on the same path trying to follow God’s call. Later, I continued my research on the Internet to find the right congregation and I combed every single religious order until I discovered the Dominican Order. The Dominican charism resonated into my heart especially when I saw a Dominican nun praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It was like falling in love at the first sight.
After inquiring with a few Dominican monasteries, I landed at the Cloistered Dominican Nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery, Menlo Park, California. After my aspirancy in October 2007, I entered the monastery as a postulant in 2009 on the feast of Blessed Diana whose life is mirror to mine. On the feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 2012 I made my first vows of religious profession as a Dominican nun.
I know that a vocation is a gift and God has given this gift to me and I will not pass this opportunity. I know there will be challenges along the way, but I believe that God will help me through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and my guardian angel.
Ad Jesum per Mariam!
Please keep Sr. Mary Isabel in prayer and all who courageously and trustingly answered God’s call to serve him, doing all for his glory and for the salvation of souls.