Sister Meg Eckart, RSM

Sister Meg Eckardt

Written by Sister Meg Eckart, RSM

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

I began considering religious life during a high school retreat.  One of the presenters mentioned that it was very likely that one of us in the room was called to religious life.  I could not get her words out of my mind, even though I did not think that joining religious life was something people still did.   

As a college student, I was attentive to discerning a vocation and began communicating with a few orders in the Cincinnati area.  Each community that I visited had elements that made me feel alive – either the prayer life, the community of sisters, or the ministry experiences.  At the same time, no single community felt “right.”  I let go of actively searching for a religious order and told God that if God wanted me in religious life, God would have to figure it out.  

During college I participated in service immersion trips in Mexico and Belize.  My heart was never the same, aware of the realities that many people globally face, simply struggling to live.  Approaching the end of college, I was torn between applying for medical school and discerning religious life.  Vocation directors emphasized that a woman entering a religious community should be free of school debt. Medical school and religious life seemed like an impossibility.  I decided to delay my decision by doing an international volunteer program, seeing if, at the end of that program, I still felt a tug towards religious life.  

Celebrating a Baptism.

In my search for volunteer programs, I found Mercy Volunteer Corps.  I had never met a Sister of Mercy, but I fell in love with the mission of the program.  After being accepted to their international program in Georgetown, Guyana, I embarked on a two-year journey teaching at an orphanage for boys. 

During my first year of service, I lived with three young women completing their second year of service.  Providentially, in my second year, there were no new volunteers accepted to the program, and the local sisters invited me to live in the convent.  Everything that year was free – I was free to join the community for prayer, meals, and spirituality nights, or not.  During that year, I heard myself saying in spiritual direction that I felt myself falling Sister Megin love with loving God through my ministry with the boys, and that I felt at home in the Mercy community.  

At the end of my volunteer program, I moved back to the States and worked for three years as a high school Campus Minister while actively discerning entering the Sisters of Mercy.  The discernment process included considering where I would enter – in Guyana, where I had first encountered the sisters, or in the States, where I was born.  In my discernment, I felt God’s freedom – God told me that the choice was mine, wherever I would feel most alive.  I ultimately discerned to enter the Sisters of Mercy in Guyana, South America, knowing that the poverty, simplicity, and ministries there would give the most purpose to my life.  

(Meg will profess perpetual vows in July 2024)

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