God’s love for me has been so apparent in my life. How could I possibly experience such love and not desire to give back to Him in return? ! My early years were no different than many Catholic school girls’. I was blessed with a loving family, my parents and older sister, who provided me with everything I needed to succeed. I attended Catholic school, played sports, took dance lessons, and had some really great slumber parties. At the time I did not recognize that God was forming me for a future as a Sister of Mercy, but now it all makes sense.

After grade school and high school at Catholic schools in Wichita, I left home to begin studies at the University of Dallas, a Catholic liberal arts school. It was in college that the roots of my faith, established through a strong Catholic education in Wichita, began to blossom. I was surrounded by friends who loved their faith, witnessed their devotion and were friends in the faith. It was not uncommon to see my friends at daily Mass and in the Adoration chapel. I was a busy student-athlete, but thankfully the chapel was between the classrooms and the gym, so I could make frequent stops to visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

During my freshman year at UD, I participated in the Campus Ministry’s Alternative Spring Break program. We spent a week in Ecuador. This was my first experience of true poverty. My eyes were opened to the reality that what I had received—my family, education, material needs, and instruction in the faith—was abundant gift. God had given me EVERYTHING! When I returned to the U.S., to our grocery stores overflowing with food options, our clean streets, and general good order, I was left with the decision to either feel guilty that I had so much, or to realize that I had not chosen my life, but God chose me. It was my responsibility to do something with all He had given me. I knew He was calling me to serve, I just didn’t know how He wanted me to fulfill that call.

I completed my remaining three years at UD, nearly changing my major from Biology to Theology; until I admitted that I loved science and found God present in the ordered world around us. It came to my senior year, and the thought of a religious vocation was becoming stronger. I initially planned to go on another Alternative Spring Break trip (it would have been my third), but the Lord’s call to discern my vocation won out. Instead, I chose to spend my spring break with some Sisters in Wichita on a retreat, simply praying and living with them that week. Although I did not feel called to their community, they gently guided me, and it was during that week that I realized God wanted me to go a step further. I could no longer discern my vocation from the outside. He wanted me to say “yes,” to give my all, and He would show me the rest of the way.

After graduation from UD I returned home to find a job while I looked at religious communities. I visited a priest whom I knew and at the time was stationed at the Spiritual Life Center. Prior to meeting with him, I was praying in the Blessed Sacrament chapel and really felt drawn to continue studying. God had given me a desire to continue my education, and I knew that that too was a gift. I met with Father and he introduced me to a priest who “happened” to be there that weekend and knew the Religious Sisters of Mercy very well. He told me that, “They study to a high degree in order to be of service.” I about fell over. He also told me that, “they are so joyful.” I visited the Sisters, and he was right. They were joyful, and I was drawn to their Liturgy, the beautiful Liturgy of the Church which I had grown to love. Prayer was clearly a priority for them, as well as faithfulness to the Holy Father and the Church! This was it!

That story is only the beginning. After 14 years now of formation, and giving myself to God through the vows of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience, and Service to the Poor, Sick, and Ignorant, I couldn’t be happier. God loves me so much, and allows me to love Him in return, particularly through prayer and service to His sick as a physician in our own Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center. For all that He has given to me, how could I not promise to love and serve Him in return, all the days of my life…and in this case, even death will not part us!