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Embracing Faith Through Vocation – Why Do Women Consider Religious Life?

Updated: Apr 16, 2019

By Katie Beckmann, Communications Manager

This week’s “Embracing Faith” article will focus on Embracing Faith through Vocation.

Embracing Faith Through Vocation

Many often wonder what leads an individual to consider religious life.

For some, it’s a calling or a feeling that being in tune with God is when they were most fully themselves (1) while others felt that religious life was the best way to serve those in need and make an impact on society. (2)

In 2014, headlines were made throughout the fashion world when successful Spanish model and actress Olalla Oliveros announced she was giving up her career to enter religious life and become a nun. Sister Olalla shared that she made that decision four years ago during a visit to the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Portugal. During this time, she felt dissatisfied with her life and felt “an internal earthquake.” She added, “God gave me a role and chose me, and I couldn’t say no to him.” (3)

In a 2018 feature on A Nun’s Life, Sister Jennifer Schaaf shared her vocation story.

Sister Jennifer Schaaf, OP
Sister Jennifer Schaaf, OP

“One of my professors, a Dominican Theologian, walked into the classroom and was a young, vibrant woman, passionate about teaching. Instantly, she pushed my understanding of God through liberation theology and theologies from many different perspectives. On one occasion, just before the war with Iraq broke out, she brought in a bumper sticker that said, “I have family in Iraq.” Calmly and quietly, she explained that we have a human family, Christian family and Dominican family in Iraq, which means that we need to reevaluate the value of going to war. It was the sense of social justice, being part of the institutional Church, but willing to remain on the margins as women religious, that piqued my interest in religious life and initially made me realize that my life mirrored hers in many ways.” (4)

Many members of Sister Jennifer’s congregation, the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, were first exposed to religious life in school when they were taught by fellow women religious.

Currently, Sister Mary Ann Collins has been serving as Vocation Director for the congregation and has been working with other religious organizations to help promote vocation to young women.

“Sisters from Blauvelt, Caldwell, Maryknoll, and Sparkill meet monthly to brainstorm and surface ideas on attracting new members to our Dominican family. We work with local members of the NRVC (National Religious Vocation Conference) to plan and participate in weekend retreats for young adults. Also, we have participated in “Busy Person’s Retreats” in conjunction with campus ministers at Caldwell University and Dominican College. The Blauvelt preaching team also works with Dominican College Campus Ministry to provide a yearly day of reflection for staff members.”

If you have any questions about the vocation process, please contact Sister Mary Ann at or call 845-365-1370.


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