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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sr Kelly’s vocation story ~ 'In the footsteps of Jesus, our Good Shepherd'

Although I was born into a Catholic family, it was at the age of twenty one years that I was baptised.  I joined the parish youth group.  Soon after the youth leader left for studies, I was entrusted with the leadership role.  This new responsibility was very challenging.  I was not sure about how to lead and made many mistakes.  I felt really helpless.  The members of my youth group felt the same although they were very supportive as we struggled on. We felt that we were like sheep without a shepherd.  Under those circumstances, I started my personal search – “What is God’s calling for me?  Where is he leading me?”
Exactly 50 days after my baptism, on Pentecost Sunday, a friend asked me, “Do you want to be a Religious?”  This question became very powerful to me after a year of struggling to lead the youth group.  In my search, deep down within me, I knew I wanted to be a shepherd for the youth.  I wanted to be a Religious Sister, to spend my life as a shepherd, equipped with skills and knowledge to lead the youth.
After 5 years of continuous searching for my vocation in life and having made some contact with a Religious Congregation in Taiwan, I was eventually led to the Good Shepherd Sisters in Kota Kinabalu.  I believe that God has his own way of inviting me to follow him.  At that time, a friend of mine was faced with a pregnancy crisis.  In the process of engaging and bridging the communication between the Good Shepherd Sisters and my friend, I saw clearly the work of the Good Shepherd Sisters in reaching out to women and children.  This attracted me so much.  I left my job and my family.  I entered the Good Shepherd Convent.
In my initial discernment when I was a youth leader to respond to God’s call, I wished I could be the Good Shepherd for the youth who were like sheep without a shepherd to lead and guide them.  Since then, along my journey in life, I have encountered other sheep – people who are facing problems, challenges, difficulties in their life, those in the state of helplessness; they thirst for helping hands; some are imprisoned by unjust and disadvantaged situations; some thirst for love; they yearn for just a moment of attention; some need moral support and encouragement; some are broken by their past experiences and in need of reconciliation and compassion.
The harvest is plenty but labourers are few.  This reality kept me going and helped me to know that deep in my heart, I have chosen the right path in life.
The theme I have chosen for my Final Profession of Vows on 1st June 2013, is from John 15:4 – “Abide in me, I in you”.  This is not just about my personal relationship with God but most important, it is about my prayer to God to help me to be faithful to my religious consecration, to be zealous in reaching out to those whom God entrusts to me.  Recalling my years of experience since my initial ‘yes’ to God, I feel that in the midst of my service to others, I have actually received abundant blessings from God as what was written in John 15:1 “I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.  If any of my branches does not bear fruit, he breaks it off; and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit that it may bear even more fruit.”
In my formation years, God has pruned me, healed me, blessed me with many talents and helped me to discover my gifts in different situations.  To be whole, to love unselfishly and unconditionally, that will need a life long journey.  I ask God to give me the grace to walk on so that I can continue to be a cheerful wounded healer.

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