My name is Amy Weaver, and I have been accepted into postulancy with the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan. Currently I am completing my Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling at Oklahoma State University.
In my work as an intern counselor, I love being able to enter into the suffering of others and provide compassionate and merciful mental health care. I am eager to have the opportunity to utilize my training and education to serve the Church.
I grew up in Carrollton, Texas in a home with my parents and one sister. My mother taught at the public school we attended, and my father was self-employed. Although my parents stopped practicing Catholicism when I was around 10 years old, I was blessed throughout my late childhood and early adolescence to have the opportunity to attend Mass with my grandmother when my parents could not go. When I was in high school, a friend invited me to attend a youth ministry service camp at a local parish. I began regularly attending youth group with her and then Mass once I was able to drive. It was during this time that I was introduced to the person of Jesus through regular Eucharistic adoration, Mass, and confession. By my senior year of high school, I was regularly attending daily mass. In December of 2013, I received Sacrament of Confirmation.
I attended college at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK from August 2014- May 2018. There, I was involved at St. John Catholic Student Center where I went to daily Mass, lead a FOCUS Bible study, and enjoyed being a part of an authentic Catholic community surrounded by peers who were striving for virtue and sainthood. At this point, religious life was not on my radar since I was never exposed to this vocation. I always have been nurturing and maternal, so I just assumed that I would finish my degree, get married, and have children.
During my junior year in 2016, our pastor invited the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma to come out to Stillwater to provide monthly formation for women. Up until this point, I did not know that there were women with religious vocations that were joyful, healthy, educated, and relatable. This piqued my interest. I wanted to learn more. At the same time, I felt that since I was dating and had a strong desire to raise children, there was no way that I would be called to religious life.
After graduating Oklahoma State University with my Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy in May of 2018, I moved to St. Louis for an internship and ended up staying in the city to work as a youth minister. During this time in my life, I was dating, but the thought of consecrated life frequently popped into my mind during prayer. I often would find myself spending time with sisters, praying at different convents, and asking just about everyone I knew how they discerned their vocation. This time was such a gift for me to be able to be around men and women living the consecrated life along with those who were discerning. After a year and a half of St. Louis, I moved back to Oklahoma in August of 2019 to continue my career in youth ministry while also being closer to family.
Within a few months of being back in Oklahoma, I attended a young adult event where one of the sisters recognized me from across the room. After reconnecting and catching up from when I last saw her when I was a college student, Sister invited me to attend a discernment day at their convent. I remember feeling so interested in discovering more about their vocations. At the discernment day, I saw that the environment the sisters lived in looked like a normal home, and that these women found their identity in Christ. I invited the sisters to share their vocation stories at a youth event, ostensibly for the teens but mainly because I wanted to see them again. I was still nervous to reach out!
A few months after the discernment day, the pandemic hit. The possibility of God calling me to a religious vocation was still came up in prayer but was not at the forefront of my mind until late 2020. I brought this up with a priest who encouraged me to contact the vocation director in our diocese. Luckily for me, the diocese was going to be piloting a “Discernment 101” group for women in 2021. I joined the group and over the course of a few months found myself walking with other women who had similar desires, questions, and prayer as I was having. At the conclusion of the group, I felt convicted to take additional time to continue discerning, but I was also confused. I had a strong conviction to discern a call to religious life, but I had also just resigned from my job in parish ministry, signed a yearlong contract for a teaching assistant position, and was preparing to begin a competitive graduate program which I had been feeling called to start for over 2 years. Nevertheless, I continued to meet with our diocesan vocation director and set up more regular times to pray and visit with the sisters at their local convent. As I regularly experienced their life of prayer as a community and got to know more of the sisters, I noticed a shift in my interior life. I went from “consecrated religious life is really beautiful for some people” to “I think this is the Lord calling me to be totally His as a sister.”
Being in a rural college town for this year provided me with the most delightful time to discern how the Lord made my heart to love. With fewer distractions and a slower pace of life, I was able to spend many hours with the Lord. I gave the Lord access to my whole self, and He continued to reveal himself to me in ways I could not have imagined.
In February 2022, I felt prompted to visit the motherhouse in Alma. A few days before my visit, I talked with a trusted priest about where I was at in my discernment, he told me “Amy, you know Jesus could propose to you this weekend” and He did! Over spring break, I hopped on a flight to Michigan and was gifted with a profound peace and clarity. When I walked into the Motherhouse chapel, I felt at home. Over the course of my visit, the Lord continued to confirm the different signs of a vocation that I had been experiencing. I found that the convent and the sisters truly were a family.
When the Lord invited me to ask for an application, I knew that it was time to share my discernment with my parents. My parents were (and still are) angry, sad, and defensive about what I believe what the Lord is calling me to. They have not been supportive of my vocation, and this has brought a great amount of suffering. Nevertheless, the Lord still called me to apply. I asked for an application and continued to pray. Throughout the rest of 2022, I remained in close contact with the sisters, especially in the Tulsa convent. In January of the present year, I returned to the motherhouse for an extended visit where I spent most of my time with the postulants. This visit strengthened the conviction of my call. In February 2023, I completed the application process and was accepted to postulancy.
At the present, I have been asked by the sisters to complete my degree and take my counseling licensing exam before entering August 1, 2023. During this time, I have been continuing to first stay close to the Lord in prayer. I am filled with excitement and joy to begin formation in a few short months.