A Vocation Story by Sister Elyse Marie Ramirez, OP
Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL
To Give You a Future and a Hope
To be honest I did not consider being a sister until I fell in love with one of the greatest guys God ever created and we began making plans for a life together.
We met while volunteering on a young adult retreat team. Our love of God and commitment to our faith were solid. We attended the same parish. We sang in the same music ministry. Our conversations about marriage and raising a family together were full of joy; eventually, he proposed. I said, “Yes”! We confided our news to friends and family deciding to announce it later. Our discussions, conversations, and planning for a life together were filled with hopes, dreams, a wholehearted joy, and sincerity. “Jack” (changing his name here) was to be my husband and the father of my children!
I regularly attended the St. Francis Light of Love Charismatic Community’s weekly prayer evenings. Sometimes Jack went with me, but I always attended as I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Another converging reality happened that Lent. The sisters at our parish invited me and my girlfriends to pray the Divine Office with them on Saturday mornings. It was wonderful—chanting the Psalms, praying with scripture, intercessory prayer for others—I absolutely loved it.
One evening while making plans for our future family, Jack mentioned it would be necessary to pull back from our involvement in the retreats as we started having children until they became school age. I agreed totally and thought that it made perfect sense. Yet, as I got ready for bed that night, I sensed “the wind was out of my sails”. We discussed our future a lot, but never did I have such a feeling. Concerned about how I was feeling, I turned to scripture that night, as was my habit. I let my bible open randomly to pray. It opened to Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (NLT). I was at peace. I knew God was with me. I could trust the future because it was God’s.
Not too long after that experience, I asked a friend I knew from the Charismatic group, who was a Dominican Sister if we could talk. When we met, I said, “You know I love Jack.” She said, “Yes, I do.” I said, “And you know I am going to marry him and have his children.” She said, “Yes, I know.” I said, “But I think I want to be a Sister. What am I going to do?!” She answered, “All you have to do is let God love you. It will come clear.” A beautiful sense of peace came over me. I knew how to do that; I knew how to let God love me. Several weeks later she called to see how I was doing and suggested I talk to one of her sisters in community who was the Vocation Director.
I made that phone call, and the rest is history!