by Judy Donohue
I was called by God, I was gently drawn by God and urged by the Holy Spirit into my vocation.
In 2001, I interviewed and was offered a Chaplain job at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, KY and began working on June 11, 2001. Later in 2003, Sr. Angela Wethington, SCN was in the hospital for shoulder surgery, and I visited her each day with Holy Communion. Two months after her discharge, I received a letter inviting me to be an Associate with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. I had some reservations, but decided to check out one weekend and see what they were about.
I went to my first weekend in February 2004 and loved it! The Sisters and Associates were educated, progressive, open, and fun. Occasionally I wondered if God was calling me to be a sister. I went on a discernment weekend in 2006 to further explore that question. At this time, I wasn’t moved to enter, and was satisfied with my nice ministry job, my house, two cats, and family close by. Why change? My life was going well and I did not feel any great desire to change or call from God.
With time, my mother needed to go to a nursing home, both cats died, and my job grew increasingly stressful. I was miserable. On January 12, 2013, I attended Sr. Lucille Massey’s funeral at the Nazareth Motherhouse. Before she moved to the Motherhouse, she was a volunteer in the Pastoral Care Department at St. Joe’s. She would have been 101, if she had lived another week.
Later, I ate lunch with Sr. Teresa Kotturan and Sr. Susann Gobber. Sr. Teresa mentioned to Sr. Susann that she thought I had a vocation. The next day when Sr. Susann and I went walking, she told me. It was like sunshine coming into my darkened soul. God did have a plan for my life and wanted me happy and joyful. Could I join this late in life? I called the Vocation Director, Sr. Nancy Gerth, and shared the conversation. I asked to enter discernment, and it was granted. The next step was to apply to enter the community. I filled out all the paper work.
The Western Province Board met on May 10, 2014, and I was accepted for entrance, but there were still many things to accomplish. Since I was to live in Louisville, KY, I had to quit my job, find a job there, clean out my house, and find a renter and find a place for my 2 new cats.
I sent my resume out to many places: Fr. Bryan Lambert knew Jerry Hegel who was the Human Resource person at Sodexo, the food service department of Jewish Hospital. I was offered a part time job, and later he made it full time with health insurance benefits. God was working. I put in my two weeks notice and began cleaning out my house. Two of my brothers and one sister helped take furniture, books, and clothes to Goodwill, the Catholic Action Center, and for storage in my brother Jerry’s garage. I asked Jerry if he would be interested in taking the cats. He said yes. Then a work friend, who had a property manager stopped by to visit. I asked his name and used him to find a renter for my house. Five days after everything was moved out, the house was rented. Two miracles!!
So many doors opened as God was gracing me to move forward. God gave me the push and courage to enter, because I did not have it before the lunch with Sr. Teresa. God pulled me and kept me in my community by my belief in the mission and by my general comfort with the community members I knew. God gives the graces when they are needed!!
“The Charity (Love) of Christ impels us.” 2 Corinthians 5:14
Praise the Lord!