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The Deacon's Bench

An Evangelical Protestant attorney couldn’t make that promise to her mother when she announced that she was studying to become a Catholic. And now, she could end up spending her life in a cloister.

Her amazing story, from the Catholic Anchor:

Many find it hard to fathom why a woman would ever think of trading in a good job and the prospect of marriage and family for a life of poverty, chastity and obedience.

tara-clemens-pic-2010-1.jpgTara Clemens of Anchorage, Alaska is doing just that.

It’s all the more surprising because Clemens was raised Evangelical Protestant. Plus, she’s a highly-educated attorney who already offers extraordinary service as a lay person in the Catholic Church.

So why leave all the world has to offer for a nun’s habit and the silence of a cloistered monastery?

Because it might be what God wants, explained the 31-year-old Clemens.

She regularly prays, “Lord, what is it that you want of me? Tell me what it is, and I will do it.”

That prayer is part of a journey to discern God’s call for her life. Taking time to discern one’s vocation is something she believes everyone should do.
“God calls everyone,” she said in an interview with the Catholic Anchor — to marriage, the single state or maybe even the religious life.

Clemens’ path to the monastery began even before she was Catholic. She was working full-time and attending law school – but she wasn’t much involved in a faith community. The summer before her final year in school, she took stock of her life and realized she wasn’t where God wanted her to be.

So she began praying, “Lord, show me your church. Show me where you want me.”
For the first time, Clemens looked closely at Protestant doctrine, which “raised more questions than answers,” she said.

Then, a coworker invited her to Mass.

“Not being able to think of an excuse to say, ‘No’, I said, ‘Yes,'” Clemens recalled with a laugh. Soon after, she began investigating Catholicism, “so I could evangelize my friend” out of it, Clemens admitted.

“I came to the conclusion that God was answering my prayer and (the Catholic Church) was, in fact, the church — his church — where he wanted me,” she explained.

After graduating, Clemens moved to Alaska, studied for the Bar Exam and began the official steps to become Catholic.

In praying to find a job, she “stumbled across” a vocation prayer which she began to say.

Then, one day in the kitchen, Clemens’ Protestant mother articulated a possibility that had never crossed Clemens’ mind.

“She said, ‘Just promise me you’re not going to become a nun,’ recalled Clemens, whose “jaw hit the floor” at the idea.

Still, Clemens couldn’t make the promise.

“I said, ‘I can’t do that. I don’t know what God might call me to in the future.'”

Read the rest at the link. And keep this woman and her vocation in your prayers.

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