Bright smiles awaited us as Sr. Charles Patricia and I landed in Southwest Florida recently for a vocation outreach visit. On our first evening, the Catholic Student Organization at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers welcomed us to a picnic by the lake, where we shared faith, fun and camaraderie. The students seemed fascinated by all that we shared with them about our precious Residents back home in Mobile and about our beautiful vocation.
On the following day, a Vocations Fest at Ave Maria University gave us the opportunity to mingle and share with the students during meals in the cafeteria, at our exhibit table in the afternoon, and during an evening barbeque – where our religious family was chosen from among the 20 communities in attendance to share our testimony on stage.
A final stop at the united Catholic campus ministry of Ringling College, New College of Florida, and the University of South Florida found us conversing over supper with several young women, then offering them the experience of a vocation-oriented Lectio Divina (Scriptural reflection), for which Sr. Charles provided the music on a borrowed pink guitar!
At all three locations, the students enjoyed home-baked cookies which we had brought for them, made by our Residents as a gesture of caring and support. This deeply touched the young people, several of whom have already written thank you notes to the Residents.
We thank God for the graces of this visit as we now nurture the seeds that have been planted and follow up on the contacts that were made, praying and trusting in the Lord of the harvest to bring forth – here and on all the continents – a beautiful flowering of new vocations for our religious family.