July 24, 2015

Serra Club vocations essay

Follow the many clues God provides in discerning a vocation

(Editor’s note: Following is the fifth in a series featuring the winners of the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2015 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

By Grace Malinoski (Special to The Criterion)

Grace MalinoskiMy discernment journey began at age 5, when I decided that when I grew up I was going to be a nun.

Then I thought that wasn’t such a good idea, and decided I was going to be a rich nun. After further consideration, I proclaimed to the family that when I grew up, I was going to be queen of Chicago!

Fast forward four years, to when I was about 9 years old. At that age, I was very sure I was going to be, not just a nun, but a cloistered nun. There wasn’t really a logical explanation for this—I just “knew” that I was going to be a nun someday. This lasted until I turned 13.

At age 13, I went through a phase in which I didn’t want anything to do with God beyond the basics. I didn’t want to pray, didn’t like the daily Mass my parents tried so hard to take the family to, and most of all, I did not want to even consider a religious vocation. I didn’t really think about God at all. To me, at that period, he was rather frightening and something to be avoided.

Somewhere between ages 14 and 15, I slowly began to realize what a blessing a religious vocation is. During this time, I began to receive spiritual direction, and I began to write to several convents. I also went to a summer Catholic girls’ camp run by an order of teaching sisters during those years. That order attracted me because the sisters were very interesting, and they did so many things. I also began to think about the cloister again, remembering the feeling I had when I was 9 years old.

During the summer of 2014, with my parents’ help, I visited four convents—a teaching order, a Benedictine order, a missionary order, and a cloistered Poor Clare convent. This was a major point in my discernment journey. After my first talk with the abbess of the Poor Clare convent, I suddenly realized—with my heart, not just with my head—“She’s really happy! I would like to be like her when I grow up.”

This impression of sisters in general was reinforced by the experiences I had at the other convents.

And now? I’m continuing on my vocation journey with hope in my heart. I’ve discerned that I’m probably called to a cloistered Poor Clare vocation, and I’m writing to two different Poor Clare convents on a regular basis. I’m still receiving spiritual direction, and I pray almost every day to God to show me my vocation when it is time.

I’m doing my best to visit God in the Blessed Sacrament when I can, and I’m working on mentally praying to him when I visit. I’m very happy with the gifts God has given me, and I hope to fulfill the vocation God has given me as best as I can.

(Grace is the daughter of Peter and Pam Malinoski. She is home-schooled and completed the 11th grade last spring. Grace and her parents are members Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis. She is the 11th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2015 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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