Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sr. Marie Therese Racine's Vocation Story

As I look back, the mystery of God calling me to live the monastic way of life here as a Sister of Our Lady of Grace Monastery has unfolded throughout the course of my life. I am the second oldest of six children born into a traditional Catholic family from Massachusetts. I attended Catholic schools through the 12th grade. From our earliest years, my parents always encouraged us to pray for our vocations. Religious life and priesthood were openly discussed and encouraged as options for us to consider.

When I was in grade school, I often dreamed of becoming a nun, and during high school, I thought about it very seriously. In college, I majored in Special Education, and got a minor in Computer Science. Though I no longer thought much about becoming a nun, I was very involved in our campus ministry, especially in music ministry – something I had done with my siblings while we were in high school. When I graduated from college, I pursued a career as a software engineer. This was a very rewarding career for 17 years. I also continued to be involved in music ministry in my parish at various times during those years. During my mid-thirties, my interest in my work began to shift, and I began to wonder if it was time that I switched careers. I felt a new desire to give myself more intentionally in service somehow. So, while continuing my work as a software engineer, I enrolled in a program to study Liturgy, with the thought of becoming Music Director in a parish some day.

Then, much to my surprise, one day I was asked if I had ever thought about becoming a Sister. This really caught me off guard – I hadn’t thought about religious life since my early years in college. I was very well established and content in my life, even though it seemed to be changing direction. The question (which I now understand to have been an invitation) haunted my thoughts in the weeks and months that followed. I really couldn’t believe that God could be calling me at that point in my life to such a huge life change. After several months, with the help of God’s grace, I finally gave in and began discerning religious life. I became quite certain that God was calling me to look for a community that lived together, worked in various ministries and came together regularly each day for common prayer. After visiting various communities and exploring more on the Internet, I found the website for Our Lady of Grace Monastery. I was so excited to discover that the type of community I was looking for actually did exist! I immediately felt drawn to the Benedictine charism, the balance of prayer and work, living the common life, the focus on liturgy and music, and I was intrigued by the monastic vows. While visiting this monastery a few times that year, I came to know in my heart that God was calling me to this community. I entered the monastery just less than a year after my first visit. It all seemed to happen so fast. In some ways, I felt quite reckless leaving behind the life that I had known and those I loved in Massachusetts to enter monastic life in Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana the day before my 40th birthday. But, Christ had captured my heart, and I could give no other response but to follow him.

I made my Perpetutal Monastic Profession on June 17, 2007 and am currently the Music Teacher at St. Malachy School in Brownsburg, Indiana. In the nearly eight years that I’ve been at Our Lady of Grace, I have grown to deeply appreciate, love and depend on this monastic way of life and this Community. The daily horarium and monastic practices help me to keep my focus on Christ. And living in Community gives me abundant opportunities to learn and grow in Christ. The Sisters have encouraged and supported me in using my personal gifts in ways that I would never have dreamed or expected. The intergenerational living that is integral to monastic life is a blessing. I have been formed by the wisdom and example of many of our Sisters who have lived this way of life with integrity and fidelity for a lifetime.

I am grateful for the many gifts and blessings I have received as well as for the challenges that have helped me to grow as I live this monastic life. I am reminded over and over again of what Sr. Harriet, my Postulant/Novice Director, often told me, “God cannot be out done in generosity.” I am a grateful beneficiary of God’s abundant generosity as I continue to receive God’s love and grace to live this monastic way of life.

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