Sr. Mary James of the Meek Lamb of God
I first felt my call to religious life when I was in 3rd grade. I knew that I wanted to offer my life to console the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I don’t know where this desire came from. It was almost like I was “born” with it. I also had a great love for the Blessed Mother and Our Lady of Fatima was my favorite apparition of Our Lady. I loved explaining the faith to people and I liked teaching my non-Catholic friends the rosary whenever the opportunity arose! However, as I grew older, the desire to be a nun faded into the background. I still had my faith but I was immersed in distractions. I felt very left out in high school and all my thoughts were centered on fitting in, getting a boyfriend, etc. I had my whole life planned out. I would get married and become a Nutritionist and live in downtown Tampa, Florida. As I soon found out, God had totally different plans! My desire came back when I began making adoration during my first year of college. I was concerned about what I should do with my life and beginning a new stage in my life felt a little scary and lonely. I wouls go after class and just sit in front of the tabernacle and I would feel Jesus calling me to do something special for Him. I sensed that He wanted me all for Himself but initially I didn’t understand how.
As the months went on, He subtly placed in my heart the desire to console Him in every possible way and to live totally for Him. I came upon prayers that I had written to Our Lord as a child telling Him that I wanted to be His bride and consecrating myself to His Sacred Heart and to St. Margaret Mary. I soon realized that he was indeed calling me. As I delved deeper into information on religious life I began having some doubts and fears. I would question whether I could really live that sort of life and whether He really wanted someone like me.
However, God gave me so many signs and affirmations that I was convinced. He gave me little confirmations here and there that only He and I knew about. I knew that I was being called to make reparation and to spread the message of Divine Mercy but I could find no such order. My mother offered the idea that maybe it would be a new community that I hadn’t heard of yet. I remember saying how absurd that was… “God wouldn’t call me to a new order!”
During my second year of college I began visiting several religious communities but I always felt there was something missing. I went to the Catholic Goldmine.com to look at some different orders. As I scrolled down the list I saw one order which was highlighted, in italics and underlined. The name was Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I went to the site and I saw that they wore a full habit; they spread the message of Divine Mercy, and offered their lives to console the Heart of Jesus. Well, that sounded very interesting to me so I clicked on the link that said, “Email Mother Superior: Sister Wendy”. When I did the page read: “This page cannot be displayed”. Well, I thought that obviously God didn’t want me to contact them so without thinking twice I closed it and went to class.
The next day I decided to go to my parish church to make a visit to Jesus. I was alone in the church except for one other woman a few pews ahead of me. I didn’t really know what to pray and I suddenly felt that I was supposed to take out the missal next to me. When I did a holy card of the Divine Mercy fell into my lap. I felt compelled to just stare at it. The lady in the church got up to leave and after a few minutes she returned looking rather embarrassed. She said, “I’m sorry…you’re going to think that I’m totally crazy but I feel that I’m supposed to give this to you.” She then handed me a Catholic Digest on divorce. I thought it was a little strange but I thought that maybe God wanted me to see something in it. She replied, “You don’t even look old enough to be married but I really felt like I had to give this to you.” I thanked her and I suppose to cover her embarrassment she said, “Oh, I see you have a picture of the Divine Mercy…do you know the chaplet? When I said that I did she said, “You know my sister just founded a new order that spreads the message of Divine Mercy…Well have a good day!” As she turned to leave I knew that I had to stop her. “What’s the order’s name?” I asked her. She replied that it was the Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I asked, “With Sr. Wendy and Sr. Grace in Steubenville, Ohio?!” She looked very surprised and asked, “Do you know them? Sr. Wendy is my sister!” I told her no, but that I had come across their website for the first time last night and the page wasn’t working.
She suddenly collapsed in the pew next to me and said shaking, “You won’t believe what just happened!” “As I was leaving the church, I went to go put the magazine away and I heard this voice say to me, ‘Go back to that girl and give her the magazine.’ The voice kept saying this over and over but it sounded crazy so I just ignored it and got into my car…as I did I heard the voice say to me, ‘If you don’t go back you’ll be sorry!’ With that I gave up and marched back in!” We both realized that it wasn’t the magazine God wanted me to see but for her to see the picture of Divine Mercy and be prompted to tell me about her sister’s order. She gave me Mother Wendy’s email and some information and said she was going home right then to call her sister and tell her all that had happened!
A couple of weeks went by and I finally got up the nerve to email Mother Superior, but when I did, I got no response. I wondered what God was doing. Well, I didn’t have long to wait because a little while after that I decided to go to Saturday Vigil Mass at another parish in another town, Brandon, Fl. During the sign of peace the woman in front of me turned around to shake my hand and it was Mother Wendy’s sister again! We were both very surprised to see each other. I asked her if this was the parish she normally went to and she replied that St Stephen’s was her parish (the same parish that I attended.) So we both ended up at this parish and Mass which we never went to! She asked me if I had emailed Mother. I told her that I had but that I got no response. She said, “Oh, my sister is just busy…email Sister Grace. When I did, I got a response back from Mother. Mother’s email address apparently wasn’t working so she just happened to check Sister Grace’s and she got my letter!
When I visited them I immediately felt drawn to their charism (reparation through Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, and Catechesis, especially spreading the message of Divine Mercy). However, Mother Superior and I decided that it would be wisest to finish up my last two years of college and get my degree in education before entering as I had earned a full scholarship. I finally entered in August 2004.