It's been a little while since we last talked. Sorry about that! I know you heard that I was going back to school this fall - your text indicated that you were surprised. Well, I am too!
I think the last time we spoke, I was planning to be working as a youth minister after graduation. As you know, though, God has a funny sense of humor, and sometimes He likes to change things on us. I'm convinced He does it, for me at least, to make me trust Him more. Here's the story...
Last fall, I was attending a mandatory workshop for my major entitled "Beauty and Catechesis". One of our speakers was Dr. Denis McNamara, the assistant director and a professor at the Liturgical Institute. My interest was peaked because 1) I do a lot with liturgy and 2) I had no idea there was a whole school for Liturgy! Who knew? He started with leading us in a chant of morning prayer, then gave an incredible lecture about architecture's link to theology. As the workshop ended for the day, I remember laughing to a friend: "Maybe I should look into that school. Haha. Good joke." She laughed too, but told me to check it out.
So I did.
Two months later, I finally worked up the courage to send them a message through their contact form. You can imagine my surprise when it was Dr. McNamara who responded! Two weeks later, a representative from the school came to Franciscan's campus for a grad school fair. I walked up to the table and introduced myself, to which he said, "Ah! I hear that you've been emailing us." Oh no, I thought. He's heard about me. But we spoke for 25 minutes, at the end of which I decided to apply.
Flash forward to January. I set up a date to visit. I submitted an application. I began a novena to end on my last day of the visit. I flew to Chicago and was picked up by a chauffeur (that's an awkward story for another time). I attended classes, went to a birthday party for someone I'd never met, and fell in love with a snow-filled campus. I stuck out in the cafeteria (heck, on the entire campus!) because I wore skirts and not suits or clerics.
I finished my novena and received the answer I had prayed for.
When I received my acceptance letter in the mail, I was overjoyed but not surprised. Too many doors had opened for it not to work out. But somehow, I couldn't commit.
There was the question of finances. Was I willing to get into thousands of dollars of debt?
There was the question of community. Could I study for two years at a seminary, a primarily male campus, with mostly priests and seminarians to spend time with?
There was the question of distance. Was moving 12 hours from my family something I could actually do?
There was the question of my future. You see, in February, I had a very sudden realization that I could never actually be a youth minister. That youth ministry is not at all what I want to spend my life doing. That even though I have a passion for young people and for giving them the faith, youth ministry is not the way I'm being called to do that. What was I going to do with this expensive Master's Degree in Liturgy?
And was this God's will?
Slowly, the questions were answered until there were only two left: What would I do at the end, and Did God want me to do this? Then I received a crystal clear, undeniable answer: This is what God wants of me.
So yes. I'm moving to Chicago, to Mundelein Seminary, to attend the Liturgical Institute for the next two years. I hope you come to visit me there! It's gonna be a crazy adventure, and I'm not quite sure what to expect yet, but I've learned to trust that God will show me in His own timing.
Oh, and no, I still don't know what I'll be doing when I finish. I'm choosing to believe that I'll find out when I'm supposed to know. Pray for me!
I'll write again soon!
This post is part of an ongoing series called Letters to Rosa. Check out the introduction here and the catalogue of posts here. Let me know what else you'd like to read about!