Sr. Therese Carson just made her First Monastic Profession on Sunday, August 31st. Here are excerpts from the meditation she wrote, during the closing weeks of her novitiate, on the promises of stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience.
Part One: The Call
“Run while you have the light of life, lest the darkness of death overtake you.” (John 12:35)
“Dear God, it is too much, what you ask of me. I was born in Michigan. Industrial grit and beach sand made my bones. I have my garden, my dogs, my parish community and good friends. I have the sunroom where I watch the changing light and leaves in autumn, and talk with you. I know its backwoods trails and little streams better than the shape of my mother’s face. I know where blackberries and wild apples ripen in secret, and where the deer shelter on winter nights. I was going to retire at 65 and volunteer. How can you ask me leave it all? Once I make this change, there will be no going back. I will be 60 soon. No one will hire me. There would be no work and no home to come back to.”
Oh, but the pull was too strong. All my life it had tugged at me. What would life be like as a Sister? Then my mother died and no longer needed my care. My work had become a burden, a daily exhaustion of mind and spirit. The Spirit touched me and said, “Now is the time.” I thought, “What is keeping me from following your call? Only myself. You have never led me wrong. We will walk together on a new path, and it will work out all right.” And I remembered the saying, “If you want to hear the laughter of God, tell him your plans.”
So I took a week off, and drove hundreds of miles westward across the flats and mountains of the Upper Peninsula to Duluth; and as I turned into the drive the Spirit told me, “You are coming home.” Seven months later, my worldly goods distributed to the winds, my home and dogs in the hands of a new owner, I entered as a postulant. I said, You have to make this work. I don’t know I was speaking to me or God. Six months after that I became a novice. Now a year has passed, and the end of my canonical year approaches. I am contemplating the promises I will make when I make my first monastic profession.
“We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing
that God does not require great achievements but a heart
that holds back nothing for self.” – St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
Sister Therese Marie Carson
Therese Marie was born in Detroit, Michigan and spent many years as a microbiologist in Harbor Springs, Michigan before coming to Duluth. She had heard a call to vocation since she was young, and found the courage to surrender to it when her faith in God caught fire and became deep love. She made her First Profession on August 31, 2014, at St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota, and looks forward with joy to becoming a perpetually professed Benedictine. She believes with Albert Einstein that, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.“