Whom shall I send? A question for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations
This talk is adapted from a reflection that Sr. Dorothy Schweitzer gave at the Newman chapel in Toronto on Feb. 7, 2010, on the occasion of Consecrated Life weekend.
The prophet Isaiah tells us, "I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here I am; send me!'"
Each of us has been called by God, and sent by God. Each of us! We are all called, each in his or her own way, to witness to God's love and forgiveness to all we meet.
Some of us, like myself, have been called to consecrated religious life, which adds another dimension to our Baptismal call. Our vocation as consecrated religious is to mediate to others the good news of God's compassion and justice, through our vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Our charism as Sisters of St. Joseph calls us to bring about unity and reconciliation where we are, and to serve ‘the dear neighbour,' especially those most in need.
I was born and brought up in New York, just outside of ‘the big apple.' I know that God has a sense of humor — because when I was young, I always thought that I would get married and have lots of children. Religious life was not part of my plan. After high school, I attended St. Michael's College of the University of Toronto, had a great time socially, and there I met the Sisters of St. Joseph. I felt drawn to religious life then, and I accepted the invitation of Jesus to launch out into the deep, the same invitation he gave to Simon Peter in Luke's gospel, and the same invitation he gives to each of us at times in our lives. This invitation can demand fierce courage and sometimes a high cost, but as Jesus tells Simon, and as he tells each of us, "Do not be afraid — I will be with you, giving you the strength that you need. Do not be afraid — from now on you will be catching people."
In my years as a Sister of St. Joseph, with their challenges, heartaches and joys (as with any life), I know that Jesus walks with me, drawing me always to ‘the more' and sometimes carrying me when I need to be carried. Each day I have the chance to begin again, and I do so with gratitude and humility, doing what I can to spread the good news of God's love, with support and love from my sisters in community, my family and other cherished friends
By Dorothy Schweitzer CSJ