Sr. Maria Faustina's Complete Answers to Interview Questions
Hello family and friends, I was getting ready to delete the following but then the thought occurred to me that some of you might enjoy reading it. These are Sr. Maria Faustina's complete answers to a recent interview she did for the closing of the Year of Consecrated Life. God bless!
1) What is it about cloistered life that attracted you and made you choose it? After all there are so many options: cloistered, in the world, active, contemplative, etc. What appealed to you about this mode of religious living?
There were several elements that attracted me to the cloistered life. First of all, I instinctively knew that if I was ever called to the religious life, I had to be a contemplative religious. In the midst of my busy daily life, I felt very drawn to spending extended periods of time in prayer and I would strive to find time after a busy day to go into my room and just be alone with the Lord. Prayer energized me more than anything else, and if I filled my day with constant activity and hardly any prayer, I was left feeling very frazzled and spiritually empty. I especially enjoyed Lectio Divina, praying with the Scriptures and just speaking to the Lord from the heart and listening to Him. Gradually, my call to prayer became stronger until I was ultimately inspired to give my entire life to prayer and adoration of the Lord – to be a living, breathing prayer to the Lord.
Secondly, I truly began to understand the value of prayer when I read writings from the Saints, such as St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Faustina. I was also very impacted by Our Lady’s messages at Lourdes and Fatima. I realized how essential prayer truly is for the world and for souls. Prayer changes history: world history and personal histories. Fr. Thomas Nelson, OPRAEM says somewhere that cloistered contemplatives are called to fight in the front lines of the spiritual battle. In light of all of this, I began to feel an increasing urgency to give myself to the Lord in a life of prayer. It felt as though this was how I could best unite myself with the Lord in saving souls.
Thirdly, I had a great desire to be completely set apart for the Lord. Cloistered contemplatives are called to be like Mary (of Bethany), sitting at the feet of Jesus. We give up the freedom to roam around physically in the world, so that our souls have the freedom to fly to God. What we give up in physical freedom, we truly do gain in spiritual freedom, which is a freedom that will endure eternally. The enclosure is a very efficacious aid to staying recollected in God throughout the day, to give whole-hearted and undivided attention to Him. For me, this all became increasingly attractive.
Ultimately, we are all called to be saints, and after much discernment I became convinced that this was the path that God had marked out for me, and I just needed to go forward and follow Him. I felt a great attraction to cloistered life, but what ultimately made me choose it above all other paths was the conviction that it was God’s plan for my life.
2) And did the abbey [monastery] do anything special that attracted your attention? Blog? Come-and-see? Advertisement in a national publication? Other?
3) If not, how did you find out about them.
2 & 3) When I was studying abroad in Rome during my junior year of college, I began searching “signs of a religious vocation” (or something along those lines) on the Internet, and the website to St. Joseph’s Monastery kept coming up. When I went onto the website and read about the charism and devotion of the Passionist Nuns, it seemed that this group of Nuns practiced the very spirituality which God had already been forming in me throughout my life. Nevertheless, I put the website and the community in the back of my mind and didn’t think much more about them. A year later I began meeting with a Dominican priest for spiritual and vocational direction. I had not said anything to him about this community, but about five months into meeting with him, he found the website of this very same community and recommended that I visit them, since they seemed to match my personal spirituality. To me, that was a pretty clear indication that God wanted me to visit this community. As I continued discerning with them, the Blog was a helpful way to follow the life of the community. In the end, it was helpful that St. Joseph’s Monastery had a website that was easy to find. That, combined with direction, aided my discernment.
4) Age and hometown
Age: 25 Hometown: Mason, Ohio
5) What did you do before you entered religious life?
I worked for two years after college as an SAP Consultant before I entered the religious life.
6) Did you have a college degree? (Too many women have this notion they can't enter religious life without one.)
6) Yes, I graduated with a BA from the University of Dayton. I majored in Foreign Languages with a concentration in Italian and Spanish and minored in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business.