Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sr. Maureen Therese Cooney's Vocation Story

I come from a family that has had religious vocations every other generation. As kids my cousins would kid my family that we needed to produce the vocations since we had nuns and priests on both sides of our family tree. Of course my brothers and sisters would protest that it didn’t have to be us.  In the end it was my family that produced the vocations – my brother is a Benedictine priest at St. Meinrad and then there is me – a Sister of St. Benedict of Beech Grove, IN.

So did it all start with that kidding from cousins – who knows. What I do know is that as a student in grade two at our local Catholic School, we all wanted to be nuns. As I grew older there were some things I knew I wanted to do with my life – one was to be a teacher. So I focused my sights on becoming a teacher and just let the idea of become a Sister sit on the back burner.

In college I focused on my studies to become a teacher and was active at the local Newman Center on campus. I enjoyed being involved with the local parish community and found many who felt that they had some type of calling. It helped to be able to discuss that idea with a group of my peers.

As college wound down, I focused on finding a job and getting started in teaching.

I didn’t really begin to think of a vocation to the religious life until my third year of teaching while I was at a little Catholic school just outside of East St. Louis. During that summer, I found a job at the local Catholic summer camp. I had plenty of time to ponder my life and the direction it was taking during the 8 hour nature hike every Monday. I started to really listen to God and what I was being called to. In nature and with the help of one of the other counselors-a Dominican from Springfield - I began to discern my calling.

Sr. Margaret Therese invited me to visit during the school year and to make a visit to their mother house in Springfield. Well, word got out that I was looking around and one of the Sisters I worked with while in Indianapolis sent me a note inviting me to Beech Grove for a visit.

When I arrived in Beech Grove and walked into the front lobby, I felt I had found my place. I felt that I had just arrived home. After that it was just a matter of letting things fall into place.

In July of 1987 I entered Our Lady of Grace Monastery. I remember one phone call early that fall from my Dad. He told me that he was glad I was at the monastery because he could tell that it was the place for me. He told me that I sounded so happy and relaxed and he was happy for me. That was all I needed to hear – I had found my home.

These past 21 years have been years of growth – years I wouldn’t trade for anything.

No comments: