Sister Niamh's Vocation Story
I think, if I'm honest, that a part of me has always known that I would grow up and be a nun. But the rest of me didn't want to know it. The rest of me was hoping for something else, something 'better'. God blessed me with a very happy family, with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents who always enjoyed being together and even sad occasions are among my good memories because we pulled together well, thank God.
So, there God was, hugely important and working away silently, impressing me through the faith of the parish community, through family and later through the Legion of Mary. I was looking for Him everywhere, wanting to be good enough for Him but not knowing how.
So when it came to my Leaving Cert a vague notion flitted through my mind about religious life, but I decided to put it out again (quickly) until I was 20. Then I was 20, and I said to myself, "25 is time enough" and when I was 25, I put it off again - "30 isn't too old!" I thought to myself.
But all the time some One wonderful was waiting for me. I woke up at last when I was 27, attending a 'Credo' catechetical weekend in Tallaght, run by a few young Dominican priests. The initial reaction was a feeling that I could and would willingly do whatever the Lord asked of me, but it wore off and I was left quite worried and scared and I didn't want it to be true, this calling. I needed a second opinion, got it, and I was free again - free to go for God!
And now here I am, living a contemplative life in a community of Nuns of the Order of Preachers, having made first profession on 31st May 2007, dare I say "home at last"?! It fits. And believe it or believe it not - I am not alone - it's not so unusual to have a vocation to this life (I'd never have believed that until recently). Sr M.Teresa made her profession on the 29th June 2008. Maybe that's what took me so long, all the time I was putting God on the "long finger" - no one of my friends was being drawn this way, so who could point me in the right direction?
The secret of the joy of this kind of intimacy with the Lord (though not the only one) is that however far from home I may be, however infrequently I see family and friends - still, my love and appreciation for them deepens - the peace - that I just know they're in the safest of hands. The hardest part was letting them go, but once I made the decision to give them back to God, I discovered that He only took them in order to give them back to me in a new way. And I have to say, the community here is such a welcoming, loving one.
I can't change the world to make it beautiful for God, but He has invited me to sit with Him - right next to His heart - and to see how beautiful it already is; to love it as He does and to give Him all my longing and desire for the world and all the precious people it holds. And that's what I hope to spend my life doing, with His help. And while He's at it, He may draw me more and more to Him in love, and everyone I carry in my heart.