Most of what I do I could do without necessarily being a religious woman. I work for a Catholic diocese however the vast majority of my colleagues are lay people. They are as committed as I, as prayerful as I and as qualified as I. My job description requires me to have particular skills but none of them centre on being a ‘nun’. So why bother?
I live in an ordinary house with another member of my congregation. We pray, eat and share faith together. When I finished university I lived in a community where we prayed, ate and shared faith together. Although one member of the community was a priest this was BC (before convent) and the majority of us were not members of religious institutes. Over the years I lived in a variety of situations were although not related by blood or congregational ties we formed community of prayer, care and concern. So why bother?
As a vowed member of a religious institute I take vows but unlike Marriage and Holy Orders there is no unique sacrament. So why bother?
For me its because by proclaiming the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience within the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. I can live out my baptismal promises in a way that is most life-giving to me and as a consequence others. By making the choice to throw in my lot with this group of women I am challenged and supported to share in the mission of Jesus in ways that are shaped by our charism and tradition. This gives me the freedom to be mobile, to respond to need…to be the best person I can be.
So why bother? Because this is the way I am most happy, most close close to God, most able to be the person I can be.