Kristin Foresman

The earliest memory I have of the first inklings of a call to religious life was in high school or college when a few people here and there mentioned or wondered about religious life for me. A priest in Confession even mentioned it one time. These encounters poked something in my heart and piqued my curiosity at the idea, but it would be long before I would seriously consider religious life. Fast forward to Holy Thursday 2021, I recall praying with and adoring Jesus as He was reposed on the side altar after Mass (the Last Supper). 

With courage, I asked Jesus if He wanted me to be His bride with an open heart because the idea had been floating around in my mind. I was filled with an overwhelming peace and joy. My second record of a call to religious life came in July 2021 when I did a Marian consecration. I wrote down my prayers in my journal with wonderings of what the Lord desired for my life and if it might be religious life. One of my journal entries from that time says, “The idea of Christ desiring to love me through being His bride and to be so close and near to me in this way fills my heart with overwhelming joy and love”. Then, the next day, I wrote, “‘Yes Father, for such was your gracious will’ (Matthew 11:25-30). I imagine a satisfying, chain-breaking, effervescent, freeing YES. Yes, Father, this is what you have willed, and it is good. Could it be religious life?”. 

The question remained in my heart, and I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go on a discernment retreat in November 2021 with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, MI. I went on the retreat to learn more and allow Jesus to open the doors of my heart to the possibility of religious life. Jesus provided abundantly and worked very intensely in my heart on that retreat. During and following that retreat, my heart felt exposed, and it felt like the locks and guards that I had placed on the doors of my heart (regarding religious life) had been ripped away. At various points, there was a lot of peace, joy, and curiosity on that retreat. The thought of being Christ’s bride brought great emotion and peace once again. At the end of the retreat, we all received a line from a Marian litany, and mine was “Mary, chosen Spouse of the Most Holy Trinity, pray for us”. This struck my heart, brought me to tears, and also scared me a little bit. Overall, that retreat was a very emotional experience that I was not expecting, and I knew there was no going back. I could not go back to pretending that religious life was not an option anymore; however, I continued to be very slow-moving, uncertain, and afraid. 

After that retreat, I wandered away from the idea of religious life with the distractions of daily life. 2 months later, with the help of the Holy Spirit and my spiritual director, I asked Jesus what He wanted and specifically, if He wanted me to go on another discernment retreat. He said to me, “Go to Joseph”. So, I pulled out my Consecration to St. Joseph book that I had been reading, opened it to the next page in order, and read the first lines, which said, “Day 26: Guardian of Virgins, Pray for us” and, “St. Joseph has a special love for those consecrated to God through religious vows. St. Joseph loves everyone, of course, but he has a special place in his heart for virgins”. To be honest, this scared and overwhelmed me quite a bit, so I tried to get on Facebook to distract myself. When I got on Facebook, one of the first things that I see is an advertisement for the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. The Lord found me even in my fear, much like the Apostles in the Upper Room who locked themselves in for fear of the Jews. Jesus came through the locked doors and met them there; similarly, in His great Mercy, He came through the locked doors of my own heart and met me there in my fear. 

I reached out to the Mercedarian Sisters a couple of weeks later to inquire about a come-and-see. I was supposed to go on the Come and See in June 2022, but it was canceled due to sickness/COVID. I continued with life as usual with religious life on the back burner of my mind, until I eventually went on retreat with the Mercedarians in February 2023. When I went to Adoration one day on that retreat, my heart was restlessly searching for an answer from the Lord about what He wanted for my life, specifically regarding my vocation. I was flipping through my Bible looking for a specific passage that I thought the Lord might want me to read. At one point, I stopped flipping through the pages and just looked up and adored Jesus. After a couple of minutes, I looked back down to where I had stopped, and the passage about the rich young man who turns away sad because he has many possessions struck my heart. Then I heard the Lord say to me, “Stop your searching; I am the one who will make it abundantly clear”. The next day in Adoration, I went to prayer with a more open and peaceful disposition to allow the Lord to guide me. At one point, I asked Jesus, “Should I go back to the beginning and look at what has drawn me to this point in my discernment?”. I heard the echo and felt the reverberation from His Heart saying, “Yes, go back to the beginning” followed by immense peace and assurance. I was then filled with pure consolation and peace for nearly 2 hours as I went/read back through all of my old journal entries where I recorded thoughts and prayers about being Jesus’s bride. On the retreat, I found my heart desiring to seek out signs that the Lord was calling me to religious life even though I also still felt very unsure about the idea. During the retreat, after the retreat, and still to some extent to this date, there has been some dissonance between my head and my heart. When I let my guard down and listen to and speak with the Lord from my heart, there is a desire there for religious life and there is great peace; however, when I start to think and use my brain, there is often fear and uncertainty. 

After the Come and See, I went on a couple of dates with another man, and during my prayer with the Lord during that time, I continually heard Him saying to me “You are beautiful” and “Your heart is beautiful”, which struck me very deeply in a very intimate way; it was the call of my Lover. Jesus was pursuing me even when I was trying to choose someone other than Him. After things ended with that man, it was again on Holy Thursday that the Lord spoke to me, and Jesus asked me, “Will you be my bride?” (or “Will you at least take the next step?”). I said “Yes, Lord”, and I was at peace. I reached out to Mother Jeanette, the vocations director for the Mercedarians, to talk about my experiences and to ask for an application. She told me to allow Jesus to court me while I went to Italy in May. When I was in Italy, Jesus spoke wondrously of his love for me as His beloved and filled me with great peace, wonder, and awe in many ways. I told Jesus that I would apply to enter into religious life in front of His Precious Blood in the Eucharistic miracle in Orvieto, Italy. 

After thinking and praying more about it, I decided to apply to the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. I believe that Jesus and St. Joseph led me to this community. Jesus told me to “Go to Joseph” and St. Joseph guided me to find the Mercedarians on Facebook. As I’ve come to know the community more, I sincerely resonate with the contemplative and active Apostolate and believe it fits my charisms and gifts well. When I was visiting on one occasion, one sister told me that part of living out the Apostolate involves just being in community life and being a witness through relationship with one another; this greatly appeals to my heart. I have found very authentic and genuine women in this community who are in great pursuit of the Lord, and I would be blessed and honored to join their mission of bringing Christ’s Eucharistic Heart to the world.

Praise the Lord for His patience and gentleness with me during this process. “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

Get Updated