Mary Ann Christina Hastie

I was not raised Catholic and my parents were both of non-practicing Protestant backgrounds. When I was a very small child I would attend a Seventh Day Adventist Church with my Grandma. By the time I was six, Grandma became too frail to bring me to Church so I stopped going with her, but I continued to have a strong desire to know of God throughout my childhood.

I was always looking for signs from God and reading my children’s Bible stories and trying to understand why God created us and who Jesus is and how that impacted my life. I spent much of my time throughout my childhood in the woods near my home just wondering about God and learning to pray. I experienced God’s presence very deeply when I was in nature and always had a sense of awe at seeing and experiencing God’s creation all around me.

For the entire year when I was 12 years old I would read a little of the Bible before I went to bed and pray and ask God to show me what He wanted me to do with my life, and what Church I should belong to. One night during 7th grade I was sitting at a high school football game with my friends and I heard the word Catholic Church and somehow in the depths of my heart I knew with great conviction that that was God’s answer to my question. I was overfilled with joy! However, I soon realized that I knew almost nothing about Catholicism. My conviction was strong and deep and I began tirelessly trying to learn about the faith in which I knew God was calling me to live. I went to the school library and checked out every book I could find about Catholicism.

One day as I was very eagerly seeking more knowledge about the Catholic Church I came across the Baltimore Catechism and found the answer to all of my childhood questions: “Why did God create us? To know, love, and serve Him in this life and to be happy with him forever in heaven.” Everything shifted for me in that moment and I never really felt drawn to worldly pursuits after that. Soon after my great realization that we were created to know, love, and serve God I read St. Therese’s Story of a Soul and St. Bernadette’s life story and realized that by becoming a nun I could live out my purpose in life to know, love, and serve God with every ounce of my being. This conviction that God was calling me to become a nun took root in me at the very dawn of my teenage years.

While still a seventh grader I asked my parents if I could join the Catholic Church and shared with them things that I had learned about the faith. They appreciated my desire to know about God, but decided that I was too young to make the decision to join the Catholic Church and so I spent the next three years reading about and studying the faith on my own. At 15 I was finally able to begin RCIA, and at 16 I was received into the Catholic Church! The night of the Easter Vigil when I received the Sacraments for the first time was the happiest day of my life! 

The next years were a time of deepening my relationship with God through prayer and adoration, receiving the Sacraments, and reading about the Catholic faith and the lives of the saints. The sense that God was calling me to religious life persisted within me and in my late teenage years I visited various religious communities. Nearly everyone who was supportive of me in my religious vocational search encouraged me to look into religious life that had an active apostolate because I had a great love for helping and caring for people. I pursued nursing school thinking that if I were to join an active community I would be able to use my nursing license. I somehow just never felt that God was calling me to the active apostolate though, and kept feeling drawn back to the contemplative side of religious life. The nursing program I was in would have allowed me to attain my RN, but by the time I attained my LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) I had discerned that God had indeed called me to the contemplative religious life at the Abbey of St. Walburga. I left the nursing program before attaining my RN since I would not need it in contemplative life and so that I would not accumulate more student loan debt. I wanted very much to live a hidden life of whole-hearted sacrifice and prayer given freely to God. 

I visited many communities, and spent much time discerning. It took a great deal of searching and many years for me to find the community that God was calling me to live out my vocation, but at last I found the Abbey of St. Walburga and have been extremely happy to have become a Benedictine nun here!

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