WEST PALM Beach | All through a discuss to the Magnificat team Sept. 10, Salesian Sister Katie Flanagan urged the women in attendance to remain rooted in their religion, as she was even though journeying towards her lifestyle as a consecrated religious.
Magnificat, a ministry for Catholic women of all ages that satisfies quarterly in West Palm Seashore, invited Sister Flanagan to chat about her faith journey, which was nurtured as a girl at St. Rita Parish in Wellington. She served as a catechist and higher school youth minister at the parish just before coming into the Salesian local community 10 a long time ago.
Sister Flanagan professed 1st vows in August 2016 and last vows Aug. 5, 2022. She has served as campus minister and theology instructor at St. John Neumann Higher University in Naples, and is presently a theology teacher and member of the campus ministry team at Immaculata-La Salle Large Faculty in Miami.
During her presentation, Sister Flanagan spoke about how she would have laughed if any person experienced explained to her that a long time later on she would be telling a team about her journey towards religious life.
“There is no prospect. No way. No how,” she mentioned. “But I did improve up in a household and in a community that was steeped in faith.
“I think there were instances that I joked escalating up that I invested much more time at St. Rita, our dwelling parish, than I did in my personal property,” Sister Flanagan reported. “It was vital to us and, for the most component in my daily life, I enjoyed likely to Mass.”
Her Catholic religion ongoing to develop as a student at the University of Florida, wherever she was associated with campus ministry. Without her mother and father close to, the religion grew to become her very own, and she sought out answers for herself, she stated.
As an schooling major with strategies to teach elementary college small children, she was idealistic about the job of educators and how they have to have to instruct the complete little one. She realized from close friends that the Salesian sisters, who function Catholic faculties across the point out and region, also really feel that way about training.
For the duration of spiritual direction in her senior year at UF, the potential Salesian nun was reflecting on Scripture “and just this small considered popped into my head that said, ‘Maybe you’re meant to be a nun.’ And I remember I experienced my eyes closed, and I had the Bible in my hand, and I just opened my eyes and was like, ‘Who reported that? Who listened to that?’”
Although it seemingly was not her time to take significantly the connect with to religious daily life, that began a discernment method that took numerous years. Even after she turned used as a instructor in Palm Beach front County community educational institutions, “every time I would go to pray, I would just feel this wrestling inside of. If I sat with it, I would listen to again God kind of stating, ‘Come on, arrive be a sister.’ And I would say, ‘No, thank you,’” Sister Flanagan explained.
She talked with a close friend who was a seminarian and is now Father Daniel Daza-Jaller, vocations director for the Diocese of Palm Seashore. He encouraged her to check out some sisters and learn if what she was sensation was a authentic contacting. She remembered the Salesian sisters from the discussion with her higher education buddies, so she contacted them and booked a flight to their motherhouse in New Jersey for a weekend of discovery.
“There was anything in me that knew this is a defining moment,” Sister Flanagan said. “Like from this position, there’s heading to be no turning again. But I also, at the same time, was praying far more fervently than I experienced prayed just about anything up right up until that issue: ‘God, make sure you, remember to, if you really like me, please, permit me get there and hate it.’ I wished to dislike it since I realized enough that God is only heading to phone us to what is heading to deliver us our deepest contentment.”
But on her initial day with the sisters, when praying in their chapel, she observed the remedy.
“When I sat there, it was the to start with time in years that I sat in entrance of the Blessed Sacrament to pray and I wasn’t preventing inside. I just felt peace,” she claimed. “And I believe I stated it out loud even. At that instant, it was like I recognized that I was emotion peace. I realized that you would sense peace wherever God was contacting you to go.”
But she was worried, Sister Flanagan said, and she set off the sisters for two yrs ahead of selecting to enter the Salesian local community.
“It’s the best selection I at any time manufactured by much, to surrender myself to God and to his will,” she claimed.
“Listen, in no way in a million many years if I prepared out my lifetime, not even on the incredibly very last site would I have prepared, ‘And possibly I’ll become a nun.’ It was not any where in my realm of chance. But it retained coming up and it would not go away. And that, for me, was a validation,” Sister Flanagan extra.
She stated God’s voice didn’t come to her in a shout but in a whisper. A couple of things assisted her break as a result of the sound to hear his connect with, Sister Flanagan explained.
“The 1st point for me was Scripture,” she stated. “That really initial second that I can remember tangibly hearing God’s connect with, I was reflecting on a piece of Scripture. The way that the word of God is effective in our life, it has to be central, and it has to be a thing that we are consuming, or chewing, we’re consuming each individual day.”
The 2nd is that, by praying the rosary and acquiring a stronger link to Mary, she figured out to open up herself to the will of God.
“Something else that aided me to pay attention to God’s voice is the sacraments,” Sister Flanagan said. “That was one of the to start with matters I started off to do when I was seriously discerning. I commenced to go to every day Mass.
“But wow, the graces from that minute, as soon as I was acquiring the Eucharist day-to-day as frequently as I could. Then things obtained major quickly for the reason that of the grace of God working in my lifestyle and getting shut to him,” she mentioned.
Finally, her group of spouse and children and buddies designed a massive variance, she mentioned. “I think growing up in the loved ones I did, with mothers and fathers who liked me the way that they do, created me receptive to God’s really like from the commencing. But also the local community of faith that I grew up in at St. Rita, and with the mates that I selected to surround myself with. They were being all folks who were being supportive and nurturing, who gave me a quite powerful press a couple of occasions when I essential it when I was chickening out.”
She mentioned those people crucial applications — Scripture, Mary, sacraments and group — can help individuals discern everything in their lives.
“It’s about bringing him into the mess. Opening ourselves up for the reason that he will use that mess as what you can give to the globe and to your neighborhood, to your family members, to the church,” Sister Flanagan claimed.
“I just encourage you to continue to be rooted in Scripture, in the sacraments, in your neighborhood, and come across individuals means to just permit God extravagantly give you his love due to the fact, when you are sitting down in that appreciate, you’ll go wherever he wishes.”