By Sister Mary Bosco Davis
Blessed Maria Theresia Bonzel founded the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Olpe, Germany, in 1863. From the very day the community was founded, she established perpetual adoration in the local convent chapel. This has been our cherished charism ever since.
At our motherhouse in Mishawaka, our sisters are privileged to continue adoration of the Blessed Sacrament day and night. These quiet hours spent with Jesus are our greatest blessing and joy and our impetus for the active apostolates we carry out, including education at all grade levels and serving in Christ’s healing ministry through our healthcare system, Franciscan Alliance.
I discovered my call to belong totally to Jesus in our community like most, at home. I am blessed with a very loving Catholic family. My vocation was nurtured in the family, between the pillars of the Eucharist and Our Lady. I am here today doing God’s will thanks to the love, sacrifices, and prayers of my parents and siblings. That is a delightful certainty.
I have always dreamed of adventure, of going to far off lands and doing grand things. People suggested many things I could be: a lawyer, an author, a mother, a teacher. But none of these ever satisfied me. I desired something so much more; my heart ached for adventure.
I first heard God’s invitation to be entirely his own in second grade, as my class was preparing for our First Holy Communion. As I learned more about Jesus, how he loves us and gave his all for us, how could I respond but give my all to Him in return?
I wondered how I could do this? ‘Ah,’ I thought, ‘I’ll be a nun. I don’t know what they do, if they can eat pizza or wear pajamas. But I know they love Jesus with all their hearts, and that’s all that matters to me.’ The religious vocation was always on my heart, if not foremost on my mind, through middle and early high school years.
In high school I became a little confused, or perhaps honest with myself. The question that every young cradle-Catholic must face arose; was I Catholic because I believed it to be true, or only because my parents had raised me that way?
So I went back to square one. Is there really a God? Thankfully, I was studying St. Thomas Aquinas in class, and, through study and prayer, came to the conclusion that, yes, the Catholic Church is the true church.
Then I met another obstacle. If the Catholic Church was true, then why weren’t Catholics happy? I had left the nest of home and met many miserable people who professed to believe the truth that, to me, should have set their hearts ablaze. I was very confused by this.
At the same time the culture seemed to proclaim that in order to survive in this life, if I wanted adventure, I would have to lower the bar of my morals and high expectations. I did not want to do this, but I was starting to believe I had to.
Now one might ask, why I didn’t read the lives of the saints for examples of people living their faith in society? To me at that time, ‘saint’ meant praying all day and all night, kneeling with bare knees on a bare floor, eating only bread and water, and wearing a frown.
This was not the adventure I wanted, no way. Thanks, God, but no thanks. You can find someone else to be your saint.
My junior year of high school marked the start, or, rather, recognition, of a lifelong conversion from apathetic comfortable Catholic to fully alive Catholic. It started when I read the “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” God touched me through these simple stories and nothing in my life has ever been the same.
The Holy Spirit, as only he can, gave me through these stories an intense love for the Eucharist, a deeper awareness of and focus on the goodness of God, a constant joy and hope, and an example of living high virtue in society and sharing our faith with everyone we meet. These stories led me to the lives of the saints and, falling in love with them, asking how God was calling me to be a saint.
That’s when the thought of religious life returned. I had met Sister Lois during my sophomore year of high school, and she invited me on many retreats at a convent. I began to seriously discern, especially in adoration.
I attended college locally part-time for one year, and then asked for entrance into the convent. I have started to understand that adventure is not travelling to great lands around the world, but travelling down the roads of the hearts of people I meet every day. Adventure is encounter, adventure is love, and I want to lead the most adventurous life possible.
Adventure is conversion that lasts a lifetime, so incredible that it surpasses your greatest expectations. Adventure calls for courage, which leads to hope, which leads to joy. Be courageous! Be saints!
Sister Mary Bosco Davis is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration.