“I could never sit still that long”, was my first thought as I sat in the guest chapel at 3:40 a.m. waiting for the sisters to begin their first prayers for the day.  “Why am I here/” was the second.  After having spent my two post-college years alternately roaming about and working in nursing homes, I had finally decided to pursue my desire to become a doctor.  I had always been drawn to the study of medicine and loved my nursing work.  Between taking my MCAT’s and filling out applications however, another desire, the desire to serve God in the religious life, began to pull at me.  I started making contact with medical mission orders, spent a few weeks with Mother Teresa’s sisters in the Bronx, and prayed.  It was my priest who said to me one day, “Ann, why don’t you look at a contemplative order?  I think you would like the Trappistines.”  So here I was.

“I could never sit still that long.”  My thought had less to do with church.  I loved the soft chanting of the psalms that marked the hours of the sisters’ days.  I just couldn’t picture myself living in one place the rest of my life, dedicating myself to the same daily schedule of prayer and work with the same people—forever.

A year later I was back in that same church again; this time on the “inside.  I was here to share the sisters’ life for a month to discern whether God was calling me here.  I already had my orientation materials for medical school and my apartment picked out, but I was still confused by this desire for another sort of life.  I came here thinking that after a month my romantic notions would be swept away, and I would be able to finally get this whole idea of being a nun out of my head once and for all and “get on with my life”.

I had been here two weeks.  Perhaps some of my romantic notions had been swept away, but I could not imagine leaving in two weeks.  I could still imagine following Jesus by doctoring his people, but I could not imagine not doing this; to spend my life praising God and praying that his healing love may be known in the places no doctor’s hands can reach.  I wanted to be still and spend each day doing this one thing, and that is why I am here.