Sr. Mary Catherine- I want to be entirely Yours Oh LordSr. Mary Catherine, Franciscan Sisters TOR

I encountered the Charismatic Renewal during the summer between my 7th and 8th grade years of school.  A friend had invited my mom to a prayer meeting, and she asked me to go with her.  Soon after our first prayer meeting, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at the age of twelve.  I begin my vocation story here because this experience jump started my personal relationship with Jesus and my personal prayer time.  I experienced the scriptures as alive and speaking directly to me.  It was one of the ways that Jesus enticed me to want to pray every day.

When I arrived as a freshman at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I had some decisions to make.  For the first time in my life, my time was my own to determine how to spend it.  Fortunately, I knew that my studies were a priority, but I also knew that the faith environment at Franciscan was the reason I applied to study there.  I decided I would attend daily Mass and take some personal prayer time each day.  There are numerous chapels around campus, so it is always easy to find a place to pray, but the Portiuncula Chapel held a special charm for me, and I was drawn there frequently.  In that small, rustic chapel, where there is perpetual adoration during the semesters, Jesus wooed me.

When I originally sensed the Lord asking me to consider the possibility of a religious vocation, however, I was not open to the idea.  I thought that my greatest desire was to get married and have a bunch of children.  Jesus was gently persistent in his request that I just think about it.

During my years at Franciscan, I made friends with the religious sisters who were around and other young women who were discerning a call to religious life.  Their friendship and support helped me through many of the challenges of the discernment process.  Somewhere along the way, I found out that the Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R. had been founded in an early morning Mass in the very Portiuncula Chapel I had grown to love so much.  I watched the community take shape from its earliest years.  I was interested, but for a long time I was not willing to admit that to anyone.

I had the opportunity to study in Austria the first semester that the study abroad program opened there.  Just before going, I had gotten to a point in my discernment process in which I could see the beauty of both the consecrated life and marriage.  I thought I would be happy in either state, but I needed some direction, some little push from Jesus.  I began a 30 day novena to St. Joseph, asking for this direction.  When I finished the novena, we had been in Austria a little over two weeks.  I was in adoration (of course) when I asked for the grace I had been praying for in the novena.  In that moment, I sensed Jesus ask me, “What is the deepest desire of your heart?”  The question startled me a little because I had been asking Him for years, “What do you want me to do with my life?”  Now I felt He was turning the tables on me.  With amazement at my own answer, I told Him the deepest desire of my heart was to belong entirely to Him. With that, I sensed Him invite me to be His bride.  I knew that for me that meant a call to the religious life, and I was filled with joy and deep peace.  That was the evening of my 21st birthday.  It was the best birthday present I ever received.

Since I knew I was called to be a Franciscan, I had only to discern which community I should join.  I visited two different Franciscan communities, one being the Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R.  When I visited, I felt at home almost immediately.  Since I had loans to pay off, I went to work for a couple of years after graduating from Franciscan University, and came back to enter the community in the summer of 1995.  I made my first profession of vows on September 4, 1998, and professed perpetual vows on July 5, 2003.  The joy and peace I felt when I first received my call to religious life has never left me.  Praise God!Sr. Mary Catherine Kasuboski, T.O.R.

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