By Jennifer Miller
While in second grade, preparing for her first Holy Communion, Sister Mary Bosco remembers first thinking of becoming a religious sister. “We were learning of how He gave His all for us. And I thought, how can I respond? By giving my all, I thought.” Three and a half years ago, she did just that asking to join the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka.
Exuding joy, humility and both a wisdom of a deep active older prayer life and the youthful smile of a young spirit, Sister Mary Bosco is in the second year of her novitiate, scheduled to give her first temporary vows this August 2016, and final vows five and a half years from now. The Sisters have an eight-year program, which allows the young women to discern, live and grow into their final vocational choice. Sister Mary Bosco, originally from Ossian, Indiana, and St. Therese Little Flower parish, finds herself looking upon these days with wonder. One of her current favorite Bible passages speaks of this wonder, from the Old Testament with Moses in liberating God’s people from captivity.
“‘I will smite Egypt with all of my wonders.’ I feel like that is what God has done with my life; there are so many wonders! Jesus in the Eucharistic, in the Incarnation, through creation, in a blade of grass, how good he has been to my family, my spiritual life… The wonder of God smites my pride, smites all my vices, still smiting. We are working on it. Not like an angry God, ferocious but with His wonders and His love… I think Moses was surprised too. And there is a real wonder that in the grand salvation history, in the midst of the cool natural wonders, is that Jesus asks Moses, and asks us, to be with Him in that redemption too, comes with us so personally and asks us to be His partner.”
God has surprised Sister Mary Bosco too. She found God using all things to call her to Himself, even the book, “The Adventures of Sherlock Homes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “I read about this person whose hope was in God…. and it was an annunciation moment for me. I asked myself, “What am I living for?” And found that God was offering me greater intimacy and love.”
Even in the convent, Sister Mary Bosco continues to be surprised by God. The beauty of community is even greater than she realized before. “The support of the sisters is wonderful. I had a small taste of community in my family growing up and now an even wider family to grow into.” She shares with the community her joy of the Lord, listening skills and enjoyment of acting and being carefree. The older sisters fondly remember how Sister Mary Bosco brought a penguin costume with her for one of their plays and wore it well, also waddling around during a high school retreat.
For men and women considering a religious life, Sister Mary Bosco reminds them that it is “O.K. to ask questions of the faith… Search for the truth.” She also emphasized the importance and need for silence in everyone’s day, to listen and converse with God. Sister Mary Bosco has also found friends in the saints that have helped her spiritual life, most recently St. John Bosco (thus her given, religious name) and St. John Henry Newman, for his humor, simplicity and brilliance.
She recommends that the Church and the faithful help those discerning vocations by continuing to pray for vocations and witness actively to the joy of Christ. Also, teachers who actually witness to what they taught, at her high school, Bishop Luers, had a particular influence. Her youth group and parish diocesan priests all were key players in knowing others similar to her. Also, she suggests that a parish could have a vocations committee, which would pray and actively sponsor events and guests. As for a particular prayer request, she loves her vocational choice and asks for prayers for the decision of the religious freedom case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which affects her community as well.
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