“The Eucharist drove me to pursue my best self”
When I was in college, our student ministry made stops at monasteries and convents during our road trips to help show us different vocations. One spring break trip, when I was really struggling with what direction my life should take: choosing a major, discerning religious life, picking friends, and all the other crossroads that come with early college experiences. While we were there, I visited after dinner and while I sat there praying for my vocation, I heard the distinct phrase from God, "You are to be my daughter, not my spouse." I remember looking around thinking that someone was actually speaking out loud.
I didn't get married until around 7 years later, but that experience with the Eucharist drove me to pursue my "best self." I really dug into understanding who I was and how I was forming myself as a future wife and hopefully a mother. I poured myself into my friendships, pursued education and a career that made me happy, helped start a grad student Catholic community, joined service organizations in Poland, and more. As I grew, my prayer life really focused on those quiet moments of adoration. Those moments alone with Jesus are where some of the biggest transformations happened.
I love going to Mass because it is the same everywhere. I've lived in many states, in Poland, and traveled the world (31 countries!) and no matter where I go, there's a special beauty in knowing I can walk into Mass and celebrate the same prayers that my parents and family are celebrating back in Michigan. When we left college for the summer, our pastor used to say, "See you in the Eucharist." And after he died, my understanding of the Eucharist as a veil between this life and heaven really solidified. I find so much solace in Mass, knowing that in that moment, I'm united with the angelic hosts and all the saints in adoring Christ.
I love the silence of Eucharistic adoration. It always surprises people because I'm a classic extrovert. But silence is where Jesus speaks to me. I love Ignatian spirituality, and finding those moments of quiet for discernment in life — whether as a graduate student or a busy mom — are always easier in an adoration chapel.