"God has created me to do Him some definite service..." St John Henry Newman knew that each of us has a vocation from God to do his will on earth.
For some it will be serving Him in the priesthood or religious life. In the below video, Sr Mirjam Hugens explores how you can discover his will for you.
TESTIMONIALS: The joy of the religious life!
Religious brothers and sisters gather at the Gillis Centre this morning for our Annual Day for Religious. We asked some of them about their best moments serving God.
Sister Maria Guadalupe Figueroa RSM, Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, St Andrews Convent, Edinburgh
Of all the exciting moments of my life as a Sister, the most profound of them is in the simplicity that I have said yes to the Call. I always held an attraction to Religious Life and while I was not sure where to go with that desire, I was confident that the Lord would lead me if I continued to pursue Him with an open heart. Through that fiat, God has provided countless highlights. Some are big ones such as being sent overseas to Scotland for my first mission. Other highlights I value most are in the small daily encounters I have with others whether it is visiting the sick in the hospital or being approached on the street- it is a gift to discover how God invites me to be an instrument on a daily basis. I look forward to seeing what more God has in store and living the quote of St John Paul II: “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.” Find out more: www.rsmofalma.org
Father Joel Linawag SJ (Jesuits) Sacred Heart Parish, Lauriston, Edinburgh
As a Jesuit priest, my most consoling experience thus far has been in the ministry of spiritual accompaniment, particularly through my service as a retreat guide, spiritual director, and minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There’s something about journeying with people and closely witnessing their encounter with God that moves me and makes me deepen my appreciation for my religious vocation. Seeing how God lovingly reaches out to us in a profoundly personal way is a privilege that affirms me in the path that I have taken and in the work that I do. Find out more: www.jesuits.org.uk
Sister Margaret Mary, Sisters of Nazareth, Bonnyrigg
One of the best moments of my journey is acquiring the gift of courage to make a choice in life, and to choose to live the life of the ‘Sisters of Nazareth’ is the gift of Faith. A wonderful privilege which I call ‘Treasure’. Our main apostolate is caring for the sick, which echoes Christ words: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me (Matt.25:40). I know my daily visits to the residents in our care reminds me of our connectedness with God. My Journey relies solely in trusting God. To be open and honest is the key to survival. Find out more: www.sistersofnazareth.com
Brother Samuel Burke OP (Dominicans) St Albert’s Chaplaincy, Edinburgh
“It’s difficult to pinpoint ‘the best moment’ in my life as a Dominican Friar amidst countless graces. Perhaps I might note the first since without it nothing follows. Walking through the doors of our Novitiate at Blackfriars, Cambridge, and shortly thereafter being clothed in the Dominican habit, probably ranks as the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life. I had to overcome seemingly enormously challenges: my family were trenchantly opposed; the career, for which I had worked hard, left abandoned; most of my friends thought I was mad. And yet, I had an unassailable sense deep within me that God was calling me to this life as a friar preacher, with all the sacrifices entailed. It was, I’d discerned, the response that God asked of me, a response which feels so inadequate to His prior and greater love for me. Following this calling is an indescribable thrill, unlike any other. And, though there have been ups and downs, I have never lost the deep conviction that I am doing God’s will. For this, I thank God each day even as this great adventure continues to unfold...” Find out more: www.english.op.org
Father Marcin Motyka SAC, Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines), West Calder
As my vocation and call is directly linked with the sacrament of Holy Orders I have been preparing and training to serve as a priest wherever the Church sends me. That is the source of my joy. Many of my friends from the Pallottine seminary now work as missionary priests or in schools, hospitals, universities, prisons and local parishes. It is fantastic to meet with them from time to time and share our experience. It is great privilege to witness and see God very much at work among us in people’s lives, their families and communities and to take also a small part in that story: ‘Ad Infinitam Dei Gloriam’ – For the Infinite Glory of God. Find out more: www.pallottines.ie
If you feel called to the priesthood or religious life, why not have a chat with our vocations director Father Andrew Garden on 0131 663 4286 | email@example.com or Sister Mirjam Hugens, director for Religious Vocations, on 0131 623 8902 | firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nun’s mission to encourage young women into the religious life
A Dutch nun is on a mission to encourage more young women to explore the religious life.
Sister Mirjam Hugens FSO has been appointed director for religious vocations in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.
It is the first time a diocese in Scotland has created the position.
She will join Father Andrew Garden, who is the new director for priestly vocations.
Sr Mirjam (pronounced ‘Miriam’) said: “Men thinking of the priesthood usually have someone they can go to But for women considering the religious life, they often don’t know where to turn.
“I’m happy that I will now be there for them.”
Sr Mirjam is a member of The Spiritual Family The Work, a community of consecrated life who arrived in Edinburgh in 2017.
She and Fr Garden today launched a new vocations campaign for the Archdiocese on the theme ‘Explore It’.
Fr Andrew, priest at St David’s in Dalkeith, said: “Praying for vocations, helping people to listen to God and giving people the courage to respond – that sums up our role.
“God never imposes his will on anybody so it’s about exploring and responding in freedom to his call.”
When asked by Archbishop Cushley to take up the role, Sr Mirjam gave an enthusiastic response.
“I said ‘sure!’. It’s something very dear to my heart so I’m looking forward to it.
“I was in my first year at university in the Netherlands when I prayed for help with my vocation. At first I could never talk to a priest about it because I thought he would certainly say ‘you have to enter the convent’ and I thought ‘no!’ (laughs).
“Gradually, it became clear that God was calling me to this way of life. I’m so grateful that I found my way and I hope others find their way, whatever they are called to.
“If they are called to marriage they should follow that path. Ultimately, it’s to find what God has in mind for them. They will find in their heart what the calling is. My job is to explore it and help them on their way because following his plan will make them happy.”
Fr Andrew said he feels “positive” about his appointment and added: “It will be challenging but I feel I can put my heart into it because I believe in it.”
“I want to help people. I struggled for some time with my own vocation, to have the courage to respond to it and a bit of help goes a long way. When I did eventually respond I discovered it was a very liberating thing.”
Pray for vocations!
Sr Mirjam and Fr Andrew believe a major part of their work is getting people to pray for vocations.
They have organised a monthly Mass for vocations and created prayer cards for parishioners across the Archdiocese.
It takes place on the first Monday of each month. Fr Garden said: “Without prayer we wouldn’t have any vocations. We’re encouraging people either to start praying or to continue persevering in prayer.
"On the front of the card we have the biblical phrase ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’.
"It encourages people to listen to the promptings of God’s Grace in their hearts, while on the back there is a specific prayer for vocations.”
Sr Mirjam added: “Please pick up a postcard when you see it in your parish and keep it handy so you can regularly say the prayer for vocations.”
The first monthly Mass for vocations takes place at St Columba’s Church, 9 Upper Gray Street on Monday 4th November at 6:30pm.
If you are based in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh and want to chat about the priesthood, contact Fr Andrew on 0131 663 4286, email@example.com. For the religious life, contact Sr Mirjam on 0131 623 8902.