This past Monday I spent the day at Xavier College Prep with Sr Martin Therese, O.P., a young Dominican Sister from Ann Arbor. I listened to her speak to high school girls all day about religious vocations and about her own religious vocation to the Dominicans.
Three things stand out from the experience:
1. Religious life fascinates high school with an almost mystical power. Even if they don't understand it or its deepest motivations, young people are attracted to it--the vows, the habit, the way of life, the cultural rebellion, the unashamed love for God. It's all so wierd (definitely) and beautiful (hopefully) to them. Most students couldn't take their eyes of this young Dominican sister. I had to practically drag her away from the students when we had to leave for another class.
2. God is still calling young women to religious life. The Ann Arbor sisters have grown from 4 to over 90 young women in only a few years--all entering between the ages of 18 and 30. Many young women at Xavier confide to me that they are attracted to various religious orders.
3. A religious vocation is an objective reality. It is not a subjective career choice. St Martin Therese--for example--at one point in discernment dragged her boyfriend(s) to the convent to convince the superiors (and herself) that she wasn't called to religious life. Didn't work. Soon she surrendered, and she is living proof of the unique happiness that comes from discovering and doing God's holy will.