(Joyfulmysteries Note: I was pleased when the homily  at church touched on St Teresa today. It was what I started writing about this am.) 

Orare est laborare; laborare est orate. To pray is to work; to work is to pray. 

Today in Rome Mother Teresa was canonized a Saint. It’s not easy to be declared a Saint, there are certain hoops one has to jump through from Heaven…but no one ever doubted that she was. And today She was declared one. But She was a living breathing Saint in our midst as she served the poorest of the poor in India, as a missionary of Charity, the Order she founded. She had already been a nun she’d had a vision about the ministry of service she was called to build. 

My husband was slated to become a Missionary of Charity Father. He lived with a group of her sisters and served people with AIDS at a hospice they ran in downtown Denver. I flew there and volunteered with him for a week. I was discerning becoming a Nun. I had narrowed it down to the Carmelites and the Sisters of Providence, and was leaning towards the former. But I had also felt called to see him and serve with him, the boy who I saw and thought instantly “I’m going to marry him.”  I didn’t take discernment lightly. That trip was a turning point in my decision making as I realized God was pointing me in a different life path. 

It was beautiful but also terrifying, because I was afraid it would hurt the security I had gained in my faith. 

What is funny now is that people who knew me back then- were convinced I would marry someone because I loved everything about a good love story, and all the feelings of infatuation.  But I also was intensely turned off by the worldly influence in relationships. They had seemed so self serving, so when I was nearing the end of my Junior year in High School I was being drawn away from marriage, and I shifted my feelings on a vocation to become a Nun.

I only told two people of my decision…my friend, the Bishop of Yakima, Francis George(who our Daniel is named after), and a Nun who I met with weekly at the Hospital by my high school. I didn’t tell my youth leaders, or friends, but I’m sure my parents saw the shift. I started going to church daily, and craved the intimacy I realized that God had been calling me in to. 

One of my pet peeves is when single friends have joked they should become a nun, because of celibacy…because while that may be the world’s perceived notion of what a nun is, it’s one very small part and it’s not what the vocation is about. It’s about choosing to serve God in such a way that your entire life is being in prayer and service to others through Him. It is one of the most beautiful calls in the world. And for a while I believed it was my calling- and I was honored. 

I craved being in communion with Christ. (Galatians 2:20) 

I thirsted for Him. 

So I was thrown for a loop when twice in the week with the missionaries of Charity, a Priest and a Sister told me I was going to marry Dyp. And then one night while watching him serve dinner to a man deathly ill with AIDS, I knew I was meant to serve God next to him for the rest of my life. 

6 months later, He left the Fathers in Mexico knowing he was being called to Me. 

Both of us were changed, by the simple mission of a small woman in India, who people called Mother, who served the poorest of the poor, the orphaned, and the dying…who had a call with in a call. 

As a couple we have told our children about Saints, and how they spend their time in heaven praying for us, and relishing in the presence of God.  But on earth they served God and people, sinful and flawed and yet with such Faith. We pray they are open to discerning their vocation to serve God where He’s calling them, and we want them to thirst for Him.

One of our sons has longed to be a priest since he was 5. It has now been 7 years that he has felt this calling.  Our son named after the Priest, who became a Bishop, who became a Cardinal, who was my friend. God may change Daniel’s call someday, he would be an amazing husband and dad…but either way, He already longs to serve God. He dreams about it. He even says he would like to be called Fr. Francis, after his namesake.

God is good.

And  yet. And yet…

I have been burdened by the lack of people in the pews at church the past year.* I have wondered why people have left. What is lacking? 

Saint Teresa of Calcutta fed 9,000 people every day in her home. 

I can barely put a dinner together. I struggle with the day to day tasks. I feel like I’m failing a good chunk of the time. 

Saint Teresa held dying children everyday to her chest. 

I become impatient and snappy especially at bedtime, when all they want is to be held.

She served the poorest of the poor. 

I have a hard time making eye contact with the men who hold signs on the street…I always say a prayer, but I am scared of them. I am ashamed of this.(John 15:12) 

Many of these people she served didn’t know God or believe in God, but she still loved them. 

I have become so disheartened with the attacks on everything I believe in this past year, that I haven’t wanted to love. I have carried hate in my heart because of hurt. 

Today I read pages and pages of what kept Saint Teresa resolute in her love and service…and it was so simple.

Because she was called to it by God. Only God. Always God.

Tonight as I sat in church, they sang Amazing Grace, my favorite song since I was a little girl. I cried. I feel like I am falling short in my vocation as a wife and a mother. 

I was called to do this by God, a call with in a call, a call to serve Him, while serving   My family. 

And all I could think to do was pray. So I prayed. I prayed for the work God has done, and the work I know He will continue to do. Because maybe people will remember me someday as the person who prayed for, and with them. Or maybe as the person who loved them. But I hope they also know how much I love Him. 

Who called me first to Him. To love. To Serve. 

 I thirst for my God. (Isaiah 43:1-4; 49:15-16) 

 I’m thankful for the holy people that I met along the way, who inspired and loved me enough to show me God by their example and their service of Him. I’m so thankful for the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta, her mark on the world is still changing lives…all in the name of the God she served. All in the name of Love. 

“Love has a hem to her garment that reaches the very dust. It sweeps the stains from the streets and lanes, and because it can, it must.” -Saint Teresa of Calcutta 
*if you ever want to go to church with our family– let me know, we’d love for you to come. And if you have any questions about our faith I’d love to answer them. And I will always pray for you. To God be the Glory.