During my college days at Spring Hill, a small group of friends and I started to gather in the on-campus coffee shop for a bi-weekly catch up. It started out as a casual thing--we had a break between classes at the same time, we needed the caffeine (who doesn't in college?) and we enjoyed spending time together just chatting about our week, or helping each other study. We vented, planned, celebrated, laughed, supported and encouraged each other. We eventually dubbed our time together "Fellowship" and what started as a random meeting, became a standing weekly appointment. Since graduating from college, we've all gone on to do different things with our lives, but, when the four of us get together, we still call the outing "Fellowship."
About a year ago, at a Fellowship dinner, my longtime friend Jennifer revealed that she was in discernment, meaning she was considering a vocation to religious life. At first I was surprised, despite the fact that she's not the first person I've known to enter into religious life. However, when I really thought about her becoming a nun, it made perfect sense. Jennifer is one of the kindest people I know and has been since I met her on my first day of high school at McGill-Toolen. She is passionate about the Catholic faith and always puts others before herself. Last September, when Jennifer left for the convent, I didn't know when I'd see her again. Surprisingly, few weeks ago, she and the sisters came to Mobile for a special Mass at St. Ignatius. After the Mass, there was a reception and we all got to learn a little more about the religious community Jennifer is now a part of--the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word. It is very rare for the sisters to leave the convent, so this was really an unexpected homecoming. Of course us Fellowship girls, as well as Jennifer's family and many other friends were there to greet her. Below are Jennifer and her parents, Jennifer with several of her friends, and, finally, Jennifer and yours truly. I had a great time catching up with Jennifer, as did everyone else. She has truly found her calling in life and is overflowing with happiness, as is evident from her big smile.
The Sister Servants of the Eternal Word is located in Birmingham, Ala. Apart from prayer and catechesis, retreats are a primary element of the order's mission. For more information on the sisters, or to attend a retreat, visit www.sisterservants.org.