The Prayer for Choosing the Right Path of Life
Reflections on vocation


Vocation Stories

Contact person: Sr. Rose Urbanczyk, e-mail:

1. My Precious Pearl
2. The Most Difficult Choice
3. The Week at the end of August
4. Vocation is a Great Gift

1. My Precious Pearl

I can connect the words of a certain song with an important event of my life. When you fully recognize your vocation, the words of the following song seem to be appropriate:

" You were walking on the earth as human , o Lord
like every human, you had the heart and two hands.
You shared your great heart with people,
You divided it as a bread.
People take this bread from Your Hands,
Because You still give like you used to.
Take me, o Lord, in your hands

           I give you my heart, o Lord,
           I give you my strong hands.
           Give my hands strength,
           So they can bring the world up to You !"

These words enkindled my heart. I felt a great happiness that the Lord wants this, that I can help Him, that He needs me.
Yes, it's very simple, yet... to understand my joy in full, I need to go back to the beginning of my vocation... It was very early when the Lord knocked to the door of my heart. It was in third grade of elementary school. During the sermon preached by a religious sister, I heard very quiet voice that said: "Follow me." It was my treasure hidden deep in my heart. Later, as it goes in life, I forgot. The new plans and ambitions emerged. The precious pearl vanished from my thoughts and desires. "I totally "stepped down" to the earth. I wanted to have a home, a loving husband, and children. I was fascinated by chemistry. Everything was planned to the last detail of my life. But, the Lord didn't forget. During the youth retreat, the deacon said, "Pray to the Mother of God for recognizing your vocation." Hearing this, I was laughing. I, the wise high school student, knew EVERYTHING. The truth was different. I started to participate in meetings organized by sisters. The motivation was this, "Absolutely won't talk and think about life in the convent, I just want to deepen my relationship with Christ." My aunt, who suggested going to these meetings, didn't say anything. She just smiled. Every month, for a year and a half, we were going to the sisters living on Zielna Street. It seemed that everything was going according to my plans. Suddenly... It was winter evening. We were getting ready to leave the convent, when one of the sisters asked: "Do you think about religious life?" Again, I smiled and said, "Me ?!, Absolutely not. It's not for me. I have other plans." Yes. But they were MY plans, not God's. This one question asked unexpectedly was constantly coming back and wouldn't go away. I was trying to escape from it and block myself from it with my plans. Whatever I tried, nothing worked. The question would just come back and never leave. I struggled with it for a half of a year. It was a battle for "I want ". With time, my resistance weakened. Finally, I started to ask the Lord to tell me clearly what He wants from me. If You plan for me the life in the convent, I will go there, but only if I'm 100% sure. The Lord didn't send me any answer, so I said, "Lord, You have the vacation time. If You tell me what You want me to do, I will do it. If not, I will follow my plans." I came to Komorow for "Vacation with God". During the reflections on the topic of Beatitudes, I was even involved in looking for the verses from the Bible. I was still joyful, childish, and not very serious. And again, a question, "Who wants to talk to Mother General?" My decision surprised everybody, even myself. I don't know anything, so why go? Despite everything, I went. My first sentence was, "I don't know anything" followed by my arguments against the life in the convent. Then, there came very gentle words from Mother General, "Good. Your plans are very beautiful. But, you're not for the life in the world!" All of a sudden, my wall of defenses had fallen. I was amazed by how does she know? She doesn't even know me. Then, I understood. It wasn't her who knew, it was God! He is giving me the long awaited answer. I heard what I asked for! Though later, I still tried to push away that certainty, I knew that my place is in this congregation, the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family. It is my precious pearl. Today, I wouldn't exchange this pearl for anything. It is MY pearl because it was Lord's will.

          "I give you my heart, o Lord
           I give you my strong hands.
           Give my hands strength,
           So they can bring the world up to You."

Sr. Michaela
(17 years in religious life)

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2. The Most Difficult Choice

It was two weeks before the examination for the high-school diploma. I was looking at scattered books. With all my heart, I prayed to God for understanding of His plans toward my life. What should I choose: college, trip abroad, or, what I feared most, religious life?

I was submerged in my deep thoughts, when my Mom came to my room giving me the religious magazine, "The Knight of Immaculate". She said, "Read, here you will find what you were looking for." On suggested by my mom page, I saw a lot of addresses to religious congregations for women. Among them were also the ones with the goal of mission work. After graduating from elementary school, I confided in my Mom telling her about my desire to serve God and people as a missionary. At that time, we agreed that I will finish high school, and then make my decision. After that conversation, we never talked about my future.

The life went on with its regular rhythm. Like other girls, I was celebrating and enjoying my young life. The day hasn't passed by, though, that I would not ask God to help me in recognizing what He wanted from me. Often, in the middle of partying with the group of friends, I felt as if only my body was with them, but my soul was looking for something else. I couldn't understand my feelings, so I prayed even more eagerly, "Tell me, God, what is it that you want me to do with my life." I was also praying to Blessed Mother, who entrusted her young life and whole future to God. I believed that Lord will listen to His Mother's prayers when she will intercede for me.

Now, two weeks before the examination, Mom, as if reading my thoughts, brings me "what I looked for". As in hypnosis, I read the addresses in the order. My attention turned especially to one, "the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family. The charismatic goal - "May they all be one". Mission work - the East, Africa, and America." Without any hesitation, I circled that address, put the magazine away, and got busy with preparing for the examination.

After the examination, I pushed away the thoughts of religious life. I explained to myself that it's impossible that Jesus would want this from me. He has a lot of other girls that are far better and wiser than I, so Jesus doesn't need me. I tried to convince myself. I thought about going to college. If I wouldn't get to college, I planned to go to England to learn English.

I felt anxious. Finally, one day, I reached again for that magazine and wrote the letter to the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family. In that letter, I was sincere about my feelings, my anxieties, my family, and myself. After sending the letter, I was relieved and thought that sisters, after getting to know me, will say that religious life is not for me. What a surprise ! The answer came quickly, "come with a visit, we will talk about it." Then, everything happened very fast: long and sincere conversation with a sister, retreat in the novitiate's house where I argued with Jesus that He is mistaken about me, that I'm absolutely not fit to live religious life. Jesus looked at me with love and gently invited me, "If you want, come, follow me." One morning, I had nothing left for defense, Jesus had won. I whispered, "Yes, Lord, I want to follow you." The words can't describe the overwhelming feeling of happiness, peace, and joy that I felt after saying those words. This experience was my strength to stand by my decision. Suddenly, obstacles started to appear. According to the human thinking, I wouldn't be able to overcome them. I met with resistance where I expected understanding. It was hard to look at my Mom's tears. She wanted me to wait some more years before joining the convent. She accepted my decision, yet, she thought that I'm still too young. My dad turned his back on me; he couldn't accept the way of life that I chose. Among those piling difficulties, I repeated over and over, "I want to go after you, Jesus." Thanks to His help, I'm the Missionary Sister of the Holy Family.

After this first choice, always comes the next. Every day is the new confirmation of that first YES. The happiness that follows that choice is unconceivable.

"God, you called me...
I can't understand the love that you give me...
Thank You, O Lord!"

Sr. Joela
(13 years in religious life)
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3. The Week at the end of August

When I think "My vocation", I focus subconsciously on one moment of my life. I know that this calling to a life as a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family was always in God's mind. I also know that all events of my life led to the recognition of my own way. However, this one moment had played an important role. It was the time when I experienced, in a very intense way, God's invitation to live in chastity, poverty, and obedience. This one week of August is still very vivid. What happened at that time brings fruit and directs my daily decisions. I feel that I could never be grateful enough for the light which made everything so clear, for the grace of certainty which couldn't suggest the decision of rejecting the happiness, for the experience of putting the puzzle of events in the past into one whole. Later, when I shared people's joys and sorrows, I understood even more deeply the priceless value of the gift to be people's sister. I was certain that Christ can send me to these people according to His infallible plans. I know that the only way I can thank Jesus for that gift is to try to be sensitive to His desires.

In my heart, I go back to the mentioned week. At first, the inner voice that I heard in my heart didn't bring me any healing. I wasn't expecting anything like this. The thought of a life in the convent never crossed my mind. Though in my parish there were few religious congregations (cloister and active, wearing the habit and not, for men and for women), I didn't know that life. The sisters taught me religion and prepared me for the sacraments, but their life and witness to the Gospel was absolutely irrelevant to my plans for the future. I respected the fact that they were different, but that's it. I wanted to be a good wife and a mother to a number of children. I also wanted to be a biology teacher who would be greatly involved in the life of the students. In my dreams, that was my future and everything seemed to go this way. Suddenly, something unexpected happened. I had my plans, and God was inviting me to the life with Him. At first, God didn't succeed in calling me. I wasn't impressed with His call. The whole week, however, God didn't stop in intense renewal of His invitation. In the corner of my room, I cried hopelessly. Wetting the next towel with my tears, I tried to make a deal with the Lord. I was hoping that, somehow, it will postpone the final decision. I couldn't say 'no' to the One whom I trusted even when everything seemed to fall apart. Among other things, I was asking Him to help me to finish the college. I said, "If I have to follow you, then in four years I will." Despite that, my heart felt that it was a false petition. The only natural answer given to the Lord after some struggle was, "OK, I'm going." The peace which filled my heart was a sign of the value of human honesty toward God's invitation. I knew that I made the most important decision of my life, and that it will last for all eternity. This arguing with God, or rather with my own weakness, made me feel exhausted. I didn't even have the strength to think about how am I going to make this invitation a concrete one. Suddenly, which is totally not me, I wasn't worry about anything knowing that I will get where I need to be. I realized that there was a certain God's logic in all the events that took place in my life. If so, it wasn't a coincidence that I studied in Bialystok. I drew a conclusion from that saying," I'm sure that He wants me to join the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family if I'm studying in the city where they live." Following the address from a brochure and going to one of the convents, I felt as if this place was mine from a long, long time. Despite my strong feelings, I prepared a speech in my mind. I thought I will say that I really don't know, that I think that God wants me to lead the religious life, that I have to get advice from somebody who lived through the same experiences to know for sure, etc. The sister superior listened with the heart that lived its vocation. Very calmly, she introduced me to the vocation of Blessed Boleslawa Lament. She also explained the charismatic vocation of the congregation founded by Bl. Boleslawa. It was the end of the week filled with struggle and uncertainty. I knew now that I wanted to be a part of that congregation and live out its vocation in the best possible way. At this moment, I recognized that, through my whole life, the Lord was leading me to this joyous discovery.

Whatever I do today is the simple consequence of that dialogue. Without it, I couldn't exist, at least, not as my own person.

Sr. Lena
(19 years in religious life)
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4. Vocation is a Great Gift

For me, the call to religious life is a great gift from God. I was surprised when I heard in my heart the words of Jesus, "Follow me." I never thought that He would direct these words to me. I was imagining my future quite differently. I wanted to finish school, find a job, and have a family. At the end of my elementary education, I started to participate in the meetings of the youth group called Light-Life. It helped me in recognizing my vocation. I was also participating in summer retreats organized by the same youth group. My relationship with God grew deeper and deeper. Jesus was a Mystery that I wanted to discover. I desired to look for Him, get to know Him, and invite Him to be the Lord of my everyday life. I was fifteen when, during prayer, I heard Jesus' calling, "Follow me." With time, these words became stronger. I had the desire to offer my whole life to God, to offer Him my time and my talents. I wanted to give Him everything and belong only to Him forever. After the elementary school, I went to high school. The years passed, but the words of Jesus were still alive in my heart. There were also moments of asking questions: Do you, God, really want me to follow you and give my life to you? Are you really calling me? I was afraid that, perhaps, I won't be able to rise to the challenge of such calling. Will I last? But, then I realized that I should take that risk even though, later, I could realize that it's not my way. I felt that it was worth to take a risk for Jesus. I knew that I could lose a lot if I don't follow Him. I said to Jesus, "Yes, I want to follow you. Such is an answer to your invitation, God. I entrust my life into your hands. You lead me wherever you want."

After receiving the high school diploma, I decided to join our congregation. I learned about it from one of our sisters. On my way to the postulate house, I felt the enormous peace and certainty that I'm going home.

I'm convinced more and more that the religious life is my way of life. I feel that the congregation is my home. I feel that I found my own place in this world. I feel as a Missionary Sister of the Holy Family. During the past few years of my religious life, God is the one leading me through many different situations, through joy and the pain, through difficult as well as joyous things in my vocation life. He shows me His great love and lets me to experience His presence in prayer as well as in the daily routine. I know whom I entrusted my life. I believe that I can count on Jesus always. If I was asked to choose my way of life one more time, I would choose the religious life without any hesitation. It's so worth it to answer to Christ's call and offer Him the whole life.

Junior Sister
(4 years in religious life)
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