GAYLORD — In order to nurture vocations in girls in grades 7-12, the Diocese of Gaylord hosted “Discovering True Womanhood: How is God Calling You?” on Saturday, May 7, at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.
Among the speakers were Sr. Rita Epple, R.S.M., and Sr. Catherine Anderson, O.P., who serve in the diocese, as well as Sr. Colleen Clair from the Salesian Sisters in New Jersey and Srs. Colleen Ann and Mary Colman from the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in Lowell. Each woman spoke about how they discovered their call to religious life and provided information about their orders. Displays from other religious orders were set up for participants to view with materials that could be taken home as well.
The participants also heard from Elizabeth Gengle, who discovered her vocation was to be a wife and mother. She also serves as the youth minister at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Petoskey and Holy Childhood Parish in Harbor Springs. She shared stories and pictures of her family and explained how through living the sacrament of marriage and raising her children in the faith, she tries to live out her call. She encouraged the young women to look to Mary as the example of true faith and trust in God. She ended her talk by presenting each participant with a daisy which they were invited to place at the feet of Mary as they offered personal prayers.
The young women also spent time discussing what a new vocations group for them might encompass, what types of events they might hold and potential names. They were invited to send follow-up notes with additional ideas and suggestions so that another event might be planned.
“What I really see as the ultimate goal for this group for young women is to help them come closer to Christ and discern the vocation that Our Lord is calling them — whether it is to become a religious sister, to be a wife and a mother, or to live out the single life,” said organizer Marie Hahnenberg. “There are fruits and graces that come forth from all vocations.”
Hahnenberg drew the idea for a vocations group for young women from the St. Andrew Task Force, which was established for young men in 2006. Last year, she attended a Holy Hour for Vocations at Christ the King Acme and met Fr. Don Geyman, director of vocations.
“I asked him if anything was being done to help promote vocations for women,” said Hahnenberg. “Since then the Holy Spirit has been moving in my heart to serve the young women in our diocese through vocations.”
That conversation ultimately led to the first-ever vocations day.
“The excitement was just contagious,” said Hahnenberg. “There was so much joy and grace experienced. I believe Our Lady was truly present watching over us and continues to do so.”
For more information or to get added to the mailing list for future events, contact Hahnenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dioceseofgaylord.org and click on “vocations.”†