Sister Laena's Story
I was baptized at the age of 12 in California when my mom returned to the practice of the faith, although she left me free to join or not. I started to take my faith seriously at about age 17 when by the grace of God I started praying the rosary daily. I had always thought I would get married and be a housewife, but the more I grew in grace the more I realized I needed to ask God if this was His plan for my life. I began to look online for convents to visit because the idea of religious life became increasingly more appealing. I visited a community but they told me that because I am an only child, they would not accept me. They had one sister there who is an only child and she had to leave to take care of her parents, and they didnít want that to happen again. I thought perhaps this was a sign from the Lord that I wasnít supposed to enter religious life. My best friend was a good Catholic boy named David, and I thought maybe the Lord wanted me to marry him. So I prayed a lot, asking the Lord to show me His will.
I knew one thing for sure, I didnít want to be in the world my whole life. I knew that if the Lord did want me to get married, it would be as a stay-at-home mom, home schooling the children. Then I came upon a community where one can be single, married, or in religious life. As this option came before me, to be married but still part of a faith community, the Lord made known His will to me, that He had made me for Himself and that He intended for me to belong only to Him. My perseverance in seeking the Lordís will paid off! Thanks be to God!
I found the Children of Mary online and contacted them via e-mail. At the time I had been reading a lot of books by Carmelite saints, so I also contacted a Carmelite order in Texas. I chose to visit Carmel first. They were very accepting of me and I wanted very much to give my life all to God, for He had increased my desire to be all His, so right away I applied to enter.
But when I got home from the visit, I went on the Children of Mary website again, and was suddenly filled with a great desire to visit them. I could not stop thinking of it! So I called the Mother Superior of Carmel and told her what I was thinking and asked her to give me three days to pray about it.
I prayed very hard those three days asking God to take away my desire to visit Children of Mary if it was not His will. On the third day, my desire was stronger than ever. As I walked to work that day, I passed by a whole field of purple flowers where the day before there had been nothing but grass! Of course the color of purple made me think of the habit of Children of Mary. I felt in my heart that this was an indication from the Lord that He wanted me to visit Children of Mary, which I did in September of 2012. It was wonderful, and I felt a real joy that I had not felt at Carmel. I knew this would be my new home, where I could give God my everything. I returned to Children of Mary on November 7th.. . When I arrived I went to the chapel and felt such peace that I never wanted to leave that sacred place. I had a knowing in my heart that He brought me here, and that this was what He had created for me. I became a postulant November 21st, the feast of the Presentation. I am so very happy here, doing the will of my Master, being lead into His arms by Our Blessed Mother.
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