Rejeanne

God Is Faithful

by Rejeanne George

60th Anniversary of MH Promises

Sixty years! It doesn’t feel real. In this article, I want to thank God for his faithfulness.

I don’t remember making promises, but I do remember when I came to the decision to ask to become an applicant.

I came to Madonna House for a week of summer school, the week on Our Lady. I had come to a crossroads in my life; I didn’t know what my vocation was, and I didn’t know what to do next.

I was 22 years old. It sounds young now, but in those days, it was generally expected that you would have made a commitment by then.

Catherine suggested that I stay until December 8th. “You’ll know what to do by then.”

“I don’t have a vocation here,” I told her.

“Of course not,” she answered.

That startled me. And it startled me that it startled me.

One day, I took a large piece of paper and listed the pros and cons of joining Madonna House. You’d think I was buying a car. I still remember some of them.

The pros were:

Madonna House felt like a family. There were both men and women here. These two things were very important to me.

I felt called to a dedicated way of life, but I couldn’t see myself without brothers or in a habit.

What I had been taught about God was that you obey him. But Catherine talked about him like he was everywhere, like he was right here next to us. I wanted to live life that way.

Then there were the cons. Everything was in English, including praying. But where I came from—a Belgian-Canadian French-speaking small town on the prairies—Catholics prayed in French and Protestants prayed in English.

And in Combermere, there was “bush” everywhere—trees, trees, trees, everywhere. I used to climb to the top of a hill just to see and to “breathe.” I was out of my homeland.

What would my parents say? Madonna House was very tiny back then, and, like now, we lived by begging for what we need. My parents would say that that place will fold up. “Then what will you do?”

And how would I find out what love is without a husband and family?

I looked at my lists over and over, and try as I would, I could not come to a decision.

But God did not leave me in that state forever. Finally, like with Habakkuk in the Old Testament, he took me by the hair of the head. Suddenly, it’s like I heard in my heart: this is where the deepest desires of your heart will be fulfilled. I didn’t hear it in words; it was just a sudden conviction.

I was filled with relief. Though I knew there would be other battles, the war was over.

Catherine used to talk about folding the wings of our intellect, and that’s what happened. In listing the pros and cons, I was approaching the question of my vocation with my mind.

But there comes a time when your mind has to stop and your heart has to speak, and that’s what had happened to me.

It happens with every vocation; each one differently.

Our Little Mandate says this in another way: “Listen to the Spirit. He will lead you.”

I began to live as if God was the stuff of all of life—not just do’s and don’ts.

In “Aurora Leigh,” the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning says it still another way:

***

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.

***

The most important thing I want to say about my vocation and my sixty years is this: God is faithful.

I have learned to love and be loved, and I have had a rich, life-giving life. I am immensely grateful.

Adapted from the “few words” Réjeanne shared on her 60th anniversary.