Finding the right direction at life's turning point

Blog Published: June 2, 2021
By Sister Stephanie Romiti, CSJ
Mentors and moments that moved sisters forward

Sister Stephanie Romiti, CSJ, is a Sister of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Her academic training was in education, and she spent more than 30 years in Catholic education in the United States and Canada as teacher, principal, religious educator, and in faith formation. Since obtaining a graduate degree in Christian spirituality with certification in spiritual direction and directed retreats, she has served as a retreat and spiritual director both in person and via digital platforms. Stephanie enjoys nature photography, music, and creative arts, and often incorporates these in ministry.

How has a sister-mentor pushed you in the right direction at some important turning point in your life?

At a major transition in my life, the wisdom of a sister-friend led me to contemplate one of the maxims of our congregational founder, Jesuit Fr. Jean-Pierre Médaille: "Never go ahead of grace by an imprudent eagerness, but quietly await its movements and, when it comes to you, go along with it with great gentleness, humility, fidelity, and courage."

Typically, when I am in a place of vulnerability, particularly emotionally, I honestly try to acknowledge it but then just as quickly try to move on from it. My prayer during these times is often somewhat distorted: "God, as this memory, trauma — enter whatever word is fitting — comes to the surface again, I recognize that you have brought great healing to this area of my life, and I am grateful." This is an authentic prayer! The distortion comes in when I rush to move on rather than be still and listen to how God's spirit is inviting me deeper. Hmm, "never go ahead of grace by an imprudent eagerness."

The above-mentioned friend shared with me the following excerpt from The Second Half of Life, where Angeles Arrien quotes Eva Pierrakos (emphasis is mine):
Through the gateway of feeling your weakness lies your strength.
Through the gateway of feeling your pain lies your pleasure and joy.

Through the gateway of feeling your fear lies your security and safety.
Through the gateway of feeling your loneliness lies your capacity to have fulfillment, love, and companionship.
Through the gateway of feeling your hopelessness lies true and justified hope.
Through the gateway of accepting the lacks in your childhood lies your fulfillment now.

These words confirmed for me the value and need for me to "be with" my experiences, not to get stuck there, but to allow God to lead me forward in God's time.

What has spoken to me even louder than the words that my friend quoted to me, however, has been the example of that sister's life. She lives her life and shares these words from the depths of her own experiences of God's grace amid her own vulnerability. She is a living example to me of someone who strives to not "go ahead of grace ... but quietly await its movements and, when it comes ... [goes] along with it with great gentleness, humility, fidelity, and courage." Thank you, my friend!

I pray for the grace to live these words and be a witness of God's grace to all those I meet.

We’re delighted to share with you this blog from the monthly feature “The Life” courtesy of our friends at Global Sisters Report. The Life panelists reflected on how their lives have been influenced by a mentor—someone who opened them to new opportunities or took a new direction. Was it a teacher, a friend, a superior; a book, a telephone call, or maybe an offhand remark on a playground? CLICK HERE to read more blogs from The Life series, GSR’s monthly feature about the unique, challenging, and very specific lives of women religious around the world.


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