When I was sixteen my family moved to Bristol and I went to school at La Retraite. A timetable clash meant that I had French with a French sister who was studying theology at the University. I found her quite intimidating but great fun too and, as far as my faltering French would allow, she encouraged me to discuss far more than the set books!
A similar privileged space was provided by my Sixth form tutor, another sister. Tutorials were also times to raise concerns about the world and big issues of the day, and to look for the ‘bigger picture’. Both these women treated my questions and doubts with the utmost seriousness. Together they widened my horizons. They gave no answers, just pointers forward, but since these usually involved God, Jesus and the Gospels in some way, my faith was subtly but seriously challenged far more than I was prepared to admit!
These friendly, ‘spiritual conversations’ supported and encouraged me throughout my years as a student. There was always a great freedom about them, and maybe this is what allowed thoughts of a religious vocation to grow in the midst of student life and relationships.
However there were always other good and interesting things going on and it was only when I had been working for a couple of years that I realised I had run out of excuses! It was good that I had gained my independence and I had needed to do that, but now I realised there was ‘something more’. Whenever I considered the essentials of what life and love was all about, or my deepest hopes and dreams, this ‘something more’ always led me back to religious life.
Over the years I had got to know people in several religious congregations but it was with La Retraite that I felt most at home. Twenty-five years later I am still learning about the ‘something more’ of God and the Gospels, and hopefully providing the same sort of space for others that so helped my own journey.
You can see Sr Moira's story on the Clifton diocese website: www.cliftondiocese.com/Articles/1306
For more click here >