Postulant Jessica Vitente shares of her journey to the Sisters of Providence
After almost 3½ years of building a relationship with the Sisters of Providence — with the guidance of a discernment guide and the vocation director, by attending a few “Come and See” weekends and after finalizing the application packet, I had been approved to enter.
It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon on June 8. I was sitting at work and Sister Editha Ben, the vocation director, called. After I picked up the call, the first word she said was “Congratulations!!” I was speechless and tears of joy began to roll down my cheeks.
Sharing with my parents the good news that I had been accepted was difficult, especially for my Dad, considering I am his only child and daughter. He wasn’t sure if he would have the strength to send me off to the convent at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, nor to attend my entrance ceremony. Through the grace of God, he and my mother did come to the Woods. Truly a gift from God! After his experience of getting to know the community, he can honestly say he is happy and excited for me. He has been very supportive!
When I revealed to family and friends I was leaving California to move to the Midwest to enter a convent and learn how to be a woman religious, there were mixed reactions. A few accepted my decision and continued to support me. Others were in shock by the life choice I’d made. They had envisioned I would be getting married and raising children.
After 7½ years of working for a distributing company called Mutual Wholesale Liquor — owned by a Jewish family — it was very hard to accept the reality of letting go of deep relationships. There is so much history with my family and this company. My mom was pregnant with me when she started working for the company and she still works there. I worked my way up in the company and knew my responsibilities inside out. However, it was no longer life-giving and I wanted more. It just wasn’t enough. The educational and financial goals I had accomplished weren’t enough to fulfill my life any longer.
I gave my boss a month’s notice. Then I gave myself another month to spend quality time with family and friends. There were times I had cold feet. There were the questions, the “what ifs?” What if I am not making the right decision? What am I doing? What am I getting myself into? What did I just sign up for? I hope it all works out. There were all these questions and thoughts spinning around in my head. In the end, I went back to the reason I said “yes” to begin with. At this point, I had one foot in California and the other foot in Indiana.
Finally now, since my September entrance to the postulancy of the Sisters of Providence, I have both feet in Indiana, but part of my heart is in California. As Saint Mother Theodore Guerin said, “Put yourself gently into the hands of Providence and you will find yourself well supported.” Transitions are never easy but I have been well supported by many sisters, Providence Associates, staff members of the Congregation and of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Rebuilding community in a new state is a challenge, but through the graces of God new relationships are unfolding.
Thus far, I am sincerely still open and willing to continue to discern if this is the life choice for me. As Saint Mother Theodore Guerin said, “You will see many things in new lights if you give the Holy Spirit free access to your minds and your hearts.”