I received my official acceptance letter to the IBVM novitiate a few weeks ago. It was exciting to hold in my hand the proof of my acceptance and to know that I will be entering into the next stage of formation with the community.
I’m sure a lot of people think that religious communities these days are pretty desperate to have new members so basically anyone who walks through the door is guaranteed a spot. Not so. There was a lot of work involved in that acceptance: interviews, discussions, paperwork (you’d be surprised to find out that religious institutes like paperwork as much as the government does!), not to mention my intensive psychological assessment at Southdown in the spring. Needless to say, I am very happy to be accepted and I am looking forward to becoming a novice…and going to the Philippines!
But before I write about that upcoming adventure, I want to talk about the here and now. I’m entering into the homestretch of my time as a candidate. I’m starting to wrap things up at work (only a month left!), I’ve been trying to squeeze in as much time with family and friends as possible (I’ve been to Ottawa twice this month to see friends and to spend time in the office, and I’ve been to Calgary to see family), and I’ve been studying like mad to retest my French levels for my job.
I’ve also been trying to get my financial life in order – my house and old life that’s tucked away in a storage unit in Ottawa – so that it takes care of itself while I’m a novice. In a sense, I am starting to distance myself from my current-soon-to-be-former life. At times, it has felt overwhelming. I’ve cried quite a few times, mostly in the chapel during prayer. The closer I approach the novitiate, the more excited I become, but also the more scared I feel. What am I doing? Is this really the right thing to do? What if it all goes horribly wrong and I’m far away from home? What if I suck at being a novice? And really, what exactly will I be doing for a full year in a tropical country – how much praying can I possibly do?
Thankfully, I have had a lot of support from family, friends, and the community so I haven’t gone totally berserk yet. And most importantly, each day I give God my fears, my hopes, my worries, and my busyness and ask him to see me through it all. Day by day and checklist by checklist. Because in the end, all of this work, all of this preparation, and all of my life, is for him.