The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“To grow in holiness, that’s what I want to do”

A fellow blogger sent his my way, and it’s too good and too rare to pass up.

It’s the story of a teenager who is planning to become — are you sitting down? — a nun.

From The Catholic Globe newspaper of Sioux City, Iowa:

At 19 years of age, to the world, Emily Morse has her whole life ahead of her. She has time to travel, time to date and time to just “do whatever.” But, that’s not what she wants.


She wants to be a nun.

Not only does she want to be a nun, but she believes God is calling her to be one. Yet, this lively and energetic girl has encountered skeptics.

“A lot of times I’ll get, ‘Wow, you’re just finishing your freshman year of college. Don’t you want to see a little more of the world? Aren’t you afraid of giving up marriage?’” Morse said.

Her answer is simply “no.”

“If God is calling me to do something then I want to do that one thing,” said Morse, a parishioner at St. John the Baptist in Bancroft. “To grow in holiness, that’s what I want to do. So, why put that off by trying to entertain myself with a life God didn’t call me to? He called me first to be a sister.”


Morse will be entering the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr of St. George on Sept. 8, the feast of the Nativity of Mary. She will be entering at their motherhouse in Alton, Ill. Throughout the United States, 122 sisters belong to the community, whose two main charisms are nursing and teaching, both which Morse said she loves.

“I was drawn to the order by their life of prayer and service, their very good balance between the both of them, and just their joyous spirituality there,” she said.

Morse, who would have been going into her sophomore year at Iowa State, will only be allowed to bring with her necessities for life, such as a coat and hat, and a few meaningful religious items.

Her first year of life at the convent will be her postulancy, where she will be mainly working with the community at a daycare, hospital or at the convent. During this time, Morse will wear a jumper instead of a habit and veil.


“It’s a year of discernment and immersing yourself in the life of these specific sisters of that Franciscan lifestyle,” she said.

At the end of her postulancy, Morse will receive the habit, white veil and religious name. The next two years will be her novitiate, after which she will make first vows and enter her juniorate, which lasts another four to six years. At this point Morse will be sent to school for either teaching or nursing, though she hopes nursing. From the time she enters, it will take about eight years before she is a fully professed sister.

The religious life has always been very attractive to her, Morse said, but it was in high school that she began to take that attraction more seriously. She began to visit different communities, like the Missionaries of Charity, to get a feel for religious life. Morse said that was when she began to think she could live that life, and that God wanted her to live it.


“It was through prayer that I discovered that call initially, but through visiting the sisters and seeing how joyous they were and finding I could be myself there, . . .that was the moment that I knew this is it,” she said.

As a religious sister, Morse is giving herself to Christ as his bride, as a sign of the full communion she’ll have with him in heaven, she said.

“It’s saying, ‘God, I’m willing to give that sacrifice of a human marriage to you, in gratitude for the union that we will have in heaven, to draw the eyes of my friends and people that I meet throughout the world to that greater union that will be in heaven,’” Morse added.

This summer, Morse was a Totus Tuus teacher in the diocese. She said her experience in the program helped solidify her call to religious life by giving her a taste of community life, as well as having a structured prayer life that included the Liturgy of the Hours.

“It helped me have more confidence that I could live in a community,” she said, “and it helped me to be brutally honest with my brothers and sisters, which were my teammates throughout the summer.”

Visit the link for more. And keep this great kid in your prayers.

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posted November 3, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Way to go, Emily! I understand what you are going through, as I knew my vocation to the Order of Consecrated Virgins at age 19. You just keep listening to Christ and answering yes when He shows you how to love Him. He will help you grow in holiness and happiness as you live the life He prepared for you. You will be in my prayers.

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