A Vocation Story with Sister Ana Gonzalez, OP
Dominican Sisters of Peace
Saint Dominic left the monastery to preach the word of Christ. Sister Ana Gonzalez understands his mission to go and tell – after over a decade as a public relations professional in New Orleans and her home town of El Paso, TX, she will soon begin the second year of her Novitiate to become a Dominican Sister of Peace, with the goal of preaching Christ’s peace through the world.
Raised in a Catholic family, Sister Ana was active in service through the church. When she was a high school senior, she took the advice of a Jesuit family friend and applied to Loyola University in New Orleans.
It was in New Orleans that she encountered the Dominican sisters, "incredibly talented women: educated, passionate and making a big difference in the name of God," she said. "I was inspired by them; I wanted to follow in their footsteps."
She continued to volunteer with the sisters at the local Dominican convent and considered a vocation to religious life, but Sister Ana had other priorities: paying her college loans and embarking on her career. At the same time, she "longed for a closer relationship with God."
"I had my master's degree, was turning 30 and had been working for 10 years—and was a workaholic, but felt empty inside," Sister Ana said. "I felt defined by what I was doing, not who I was. I began questioning my spirituality. As I searched, the question of entering religious life began to surface. I hadn't considered it before, but recalled my interaction with educated, dynamic Dominican Sisters of Peace. I could feel something in me being stirred that was blossoming and life-giving."
Sister Ana continued, “one of the biggest difficulties I had to overcome was the opposition of my father. Mother always wanted me to get an education first and become a professional, but my father felt a woman's role should be that of a wife and mother. He has come to respect my choice and just wants me to be happy. Mother was concerned at first that I would be lonely, but now that she has seen how I interact with the other sisters, she knows that won't be a problem. I found a lot of joy and laughter with the sisters; they encouraged me to grow."
In 2012, Sister Ana decided to listen to the call she heard in her heart. She looked for work near a Dominican Sisters of Peace residence, and ended up at Albertus Magnus College, a Dominican Sisters of Peace-founded college in New Haven, Connecticut. She put her public relations skills to work as a community liaison in the Division of Professional and Graduate Studies and applied as a Candidate.
A year later, Ana Gonzalez was accepted to and entered the Dominican Sisters of Peace House of Discernment in New Haven. In 2016, Sister Ana became a Novice, and is now at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis, Missouri.