Have you ever met someone that made you go, "When my children grow up, I want them to be just like her?" I have! And I have the honor of featuring an interview with Sr. Teresa Wolpert, LIHM on her beautiful vocation story and her advice on how to foster vocations in your family on this year of the consecrated life.
For more amazing vocation stories and advice, I encourage you to visit the list of participating blogs at SomedaySaint's Blog Hop:
1. How did you discover your vocation?
Through prayer and with the help of the Blessed Mother, the Religious and my Family throughout my life.
My family taught me how to pray and rooted me in the faith ever since I was little. (Which I am so grateful for, in fact I think it was the daily Masses when I was in elementary school and our family rosaries that gave me the grace to make it through all the temptations and peer pressure I would experience later in life.) However, in the beginning my prayer life was mostly lip service. I attended a retreat in 8th grade and one of the High School girls gave a witnessing on how she had started to pray 3 Hail Mary’s every day for her future spouse. I then made that my resolution and little did I know what the Blessed Mother had in store for me!
I met the Alliance of the Holy Family International and they invited my family to go to World Youth Day 2000 in Rome, and this trip radically changed my life. Seeing Saint JPII, witnessing firsthand the way of the martyrs, the lifestyle of the early saints and incredible Eucharistic miracle sites changed my outlook on the Faith. Plus every night the Religious would gather the families for adoration and here before the Blessed Sacrament I began to look at Jesus in a new way. I opened my heart to Him. When I came home, my senior year was about to start and I was so on fire for my Faith! I began to take Mass seriously and pray the rosary more often. We formed a youth group and the prayer meetings were amazing. The brothers taught us how to pray, to have true devotion to Our Lady and to give the utmost reverence to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. One of the brothers gave me a sheet of paper with Evening prayers (The Divine Office) for me to pray every night. The seed planted in my heart was beginning to grow but I was too scared to give up everything and say yes just yet.
During my college years, one of my friends sort of tricked me into taking his Adoration time. Well, it turned out those hours of adoration only convinced me more of what the Lord was asking me to do. A vocation is a calling and it’s unique to each individual. It’s something interior that can’t really be put into words but in the heart you just know it’s what you are meant to do. I opened up to a spiritual director, a very holy man, who advised me to try God first. Now it was up to me. This call required a response. I went to the adoration chapel and completely surrendered my will asking Him, “Lord what do you want me to do?” And in my heart I heard so clearly, “My child I just want you.” Two weeks later, I left my family, my home, my clothes, my car, everything, taking only a duffle bag with a few essential things I headed for the formation house of the Leaven of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and I haven’t turned back since. What helped me discover my vocation most? . . . prayer, the sacraments, having good friendships, devotion to the Blessed Mother and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament!
2. What led you to your order?
I was drawn to their joy and their love for the Eucharist, the Mass, Holy Mother Church, and the Blessed Mother.
3. What is your order and what are its charisms?
The Alliance of the Holy Family International has 6 institutes. (2 Contemplative, 2 Missionary, 2 Secular) They all share the same charism of victimhood just practiced in different ways. I belong to the Leaven of the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters, which is the group of female religious missionaries. We share in embracing the charism of victimhood lived through the reparative spirituality. Our mission strives to sanctify the family, and the youth (so under attack this day in age) by consecrating them to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and promoting the Communion of Reparation Lifestyle requested by Our Lady of Fatima. We find our strength in our prayer life.
4. What would you suggest to families to encourage vocations?
Daily family rosary
Frequent the sacraments
Teach children how to pray at a young age
Emphasize the value of purity of life,
and the dignity of life
Let them spend time with and expose them
to good priests and religious
Pray for your children’s vocation everyday
Thank you, Sr. Teresa for sharing your story here, and for your awesome service to and holy influence on my girls. We're doing everything on your checklist so far... except the girls have only been praying one Hail Mary every day since they were old enough to say it for their future husbands or religious vocations. Now that you've upped the bar, we'll have to raise it to three!