Sr. Mary Elizabeth Albers
“Of you my heart has spoken: Seek His Face…”
My friend Sarah Swafford once shared about some advice a priest had given her when she was discerning her vocation in college. “Run towards Christ,” he told her, “and when you get to Him, look out of the corner of your eye and see who’s running with you.” Following this solid advice, she was led to her beautiful vocation as wife, mother, and dynamic Catholic speaker.
And while I didn’t receive this advice firsthand, the same words have proven true in discerning my own vocation as a consecrated spouse of Jesus Christ in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.
Growing up as the youngest of five, I was blessed with knowing the importance of faith and family. While Christ was certainly a part of my life, I can’t say my gaze was entirely fixed on him. Many things competed for my attention as I ran in pursuit of what truly satisfies. To modify slightly the famous words of St. Augustine, my heart was restless because it wasn’t resting in the love of the Trinity.
The Lord, however, relentlessly pursues our hearts, and He used the mixture of motives He found in mine to get me to Belize, Central America for a year of volunteer teaching in a SOLT-run Catholic high school. Though I may have set out for Belize because of the exotic appeal of a unique cultural experience and the possibility of putting off “getting a real job” for a year, upon my arrival at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, I knew I had encountered something very special. The simple and demanding life of service with the gracious people of Benque Viejo, the challenging yet ultimately enriching experience of community life amongst the priests, sisters and laity, and the constant yet ever-fresh witness of Christ’s presence in the Sacraments and in prayer was leading me to encounter Jesus at every turn. I was mesmerized.
What I discovered in Belize, and what I ultimately heard the Lord speaking to me in His Eucharistic Presence, was that He wanted me to run to Him every day for the rest of my life and into eternity. When I looked out of the corner of my eye, I saw the family of the Society of Our Lady running with me. In May 2014, I had the profound joy of professing perpetual vows of obedience, poverty and chastity with five other sisters at our SOLT Regional Assembly. May it please God that we continue to run, together with Our Blessed Mother and every last one of God’s children, into union with the Most Holy Trinity, now and forever!