Sister Therese Michael

My journey of discerning becoming a religious sister began in 2019, the summer after I graduated high school. It was at a Steubenville East conference in Lowell, MA. Sister Miriam James asked the women in the room to quiet their hearts and to ask Jesus if He was calling us to be a religious sister. Suddenly, I heard someone behind me say “Yes!”, but, when I turned around, no one was there. Unsure if this was a sign, I reached out to my parish priest and told him of my possible call to religious life.

         I was planning to start college at the University of New Hampshire in a month so he told me to continue on that path and, if the call was authentic, it would stay with me. I thought this meant I was “in the clear” and put religious life on the back burner. I just wanted to focus on my studies and extracurriculars. However, the Lord had different plans and continued to pursue me.

         During my undergrad, my faith life blossomed. I made amazing Catholic friends and began to receive the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation more frequently. My desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist grew stronger when the pandemic limited my ability to receive Him. I began spiritual direction in the summer of 2020, which provided me mentorship in cultivating my relationship with Christ. 

         One day in my sophomore year of college, I told my spiritual director that I just saw Jesus as a friend so I really couldn’t see myself as a religious. She asked me if I had ever been in love before, and I said no. Then she explained, “When you are in love with someone, you want to spend all of your time with them. They start to become the most important thing in your life and everything else seems to fade into the background. When you talk about Jesus, your whole face lights up, and I don’t see that when you talk about anyone else.” She paused and said, “Maria, you are madly in love with the LORD, and He is madly in love with you.”

         Around the same time, I attended a women’s retreat at the St. Joseph of Nazareth Convent where Mother Olga gave a talk, and I got to meet some of the sisters. At the start of my direction, my spiritual director had picked a religious woman as well as a married couple for me to talk to when I was ready to discern more seriously one vocation or the other, but I didn’t know who they were. When I was telling her about the retreat she was so surprised and said, “You met Mother Olga? That is the religious I wanted you to talk to!”

         Shortly after the retreat, I arranged for a weekend visit to take the next step in my discernment. In love with Jesus, yet uncertain of my call to religious life, I braved the Boston traffic for a weekend visit. I was very honest with Mother and the sisters and expressed how I had a love for Jesus, but wanted to do other things first, like traveling, graduate school, etc. After talking with the community, I felt a draw to the charism of Nazareth and to the Heart of Jesus that I couldn’t ignore. I left that visit with 100% confidence that I would become a sister. I even texted a friend saying “I’m becoming a nun!” 

         Shortly after my visit, I began my junior year abroad in France which was everything I ever dreamed of, but I felt I was still missing something. I found that no matter where I went I just longed for Jesus, seeking out Mass and Adoration in every new town, city, or country I visited. After a profound experience in Adoration, I decided to take my discernment more seriously, and I made plans to graduate a year early to pursue my vocation. The desire to give myself entirely to Jesus continued to grow, and I ended up entering the community on July 6th, 2022, the feast of my patron, Saint Maria Goretti.  

         In just three years, Jesus completely changed my heart from being resistant to His will to wanting nothing except to give myself wholly to Him.  I feel my journey reflects the passage in Ezekiel 36 that says, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

Get Updated