Diocesan News

Vocation stories: Belonging totally to the King, by Sr. Mary Gabriel, C.K.

A continuation of the Register's series celebrating the Year for Consecrated Life. See more stories here.

I grew up on a small farm in western Illinois.  As the middle child of four siblings, I was immersed in the simple faith of my parents and the people of the surrounding community. 

My parents were adamant about taking our family to Sunday Mass and about taking my siblings and me to CCD at our small mission parish. It was during one of those CCD classes my sixth grade year that I first heard a Sister talk about religious life. I left that night mentally adding “become a Sister” right behind “become an astronaut” and “become the first woman president” on the list of things I wanted to be when I grew up.

The idea of religious life remained in the back of my mind throughout junior high and high school. God blessed this time by giving me a faith-filled group of friends.  Their example and encouragement taught me the great joy that comes with having a deep friendship with Jesus. My friendship with Jesus continued to grow during my time at Illinois State University. In fact, it grew exponentially.

The day my parents helped me move into my dorm room, we walked from the front doors of Atkin Hall to the St. Robert Bellarmine Newman Center.  I believe it was my mom’s subtle way of reminding me that there was now no excuse for me to miss Sunday Mass. 

I would walk to the Newman Center hundreds of times during the next four years. There I found strong Catholic friendships and discovered the beauty of many Catholic traditions. I also fell in love with the creator of both friendships and traditions, Jesus. The more time I spent praying in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, the more I realized that I was created to belong totally to Him. 

After much prayer and some advice from friends and staff at the Newman Center, I began learning about the lives of different religious communities. I entered the School Sisters of Christ the King the August after I graduated from college. What a great blessing and joy it is to live a life of total belonging to Christ our loving King.

Pray for the religious of the Lincoln Diocese by going to www.lincolndiocese.org/YCL-adopt - sign-up and adopt a religious community.

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