We welcome Kimberly Grady, a regular in the A Nun’s Life Community as today’s guest blogger. Kimberly shares her journey as an Associate of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
A couple years ago I began a process that is changing my life in ways I could have never imagined. I began the process of becoming a Lay Associate with the School Sisters of Notre Dame. I had kept in contact with a few nuns that taught me in grade school in Saint Paul, Minnesota, but never dreamed I would be joining the charism, mission, and community of SSND in a faith changing way.
The sisters I knew were in their 80s or older and they could, sorry to say, walk circles around me. As I visited the various communities of SSND in Mankato, Minnesota, Chicago, and Saint Louis, I began to look at my own longing which seems like a lifetime ago. I was just 8 years old when I first sensed that longing and over the years I have discerned if I wanted to live my faith by being a religious sister.
Since that first longing, my journey has taken many wonderful turns. I married, raised a family, and have a full time career as a medical scientist, all the while I always kept close to my faith in many ways of commitment, service, and prayer. I really did not envision that my faith needed to gain any more momentum, as I was so involved in a variety of faith activities from being in the choir, a sacristan, a lector, a Eucharistic minister to being part of small group prayers, leading retreats, and even shepherding the scouts were a love and commitment.
That all had to adjust as I started separation and divorce proceedings this last year after been together 32 years and married 27 to my high school sweetheart. There was no turning back as I continued with the process, and discerned all that is entailed with it.
During those months I really tended to draw on my faith and the SSND community I had come to love for support. This was so important to me because during the separation and divorce, some of my own friends and fellow parishioners chose not to remain in contact with me. It became so tough that I eventually had to switch parishes. It was a very sad time for me, but I knew there was no going back.
Things got tougher. Just a week after deciding to move out, my mother passed away. After the funeral there was no place to go in my mind, except the great longing to go to the Motherhouse in Mankato and retreat for a couple days, the sisters welcomed me with open arms, as is their charism.
Several months later, living on my own and creating a whole new life for myself, I was covenanted as an Associate in Chicago. It was a wonderful ceremony with lots of unexpected surprises only God could orchestrate. Joining with the School Sisters of Notre Dame as an Associate means so much to me in carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ with the spirit of the SSND foundress, Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger. As Sisters and Associates we strive to bring all into oneness with God and assist others to grow into the fullness of their potential. This reminds me of the fact I am always learning, growing, and stretching myself to experience all God has to offer.