Name: Faith Becker
Where are you from? Spencer
What was your family life like growing up?
I grew up on a small family dairy farm surrounded by my five siblings. I am the third oldest of six children. I was raised in a Catholic home and was always supported to follow Christ.
When did you know you wanted to explore religious life?
I don’t think I could ever say that I “wanted”’ to explore religious life. I wanted to do what God was calling me to do and prayed that it wasn’t to become a sister. I knew I was called ever since my freshman year of high school. Whenever the topic of vocations came up, I always got a kick in my stomach. I hoped it would go away, but it made itself more present towards senior year. I remember one night I broke down over Skype with my brother, Aaron, who is a seminarian for the diocese. I told him that I couldn’t go to college knowing God wants me to enter a convent. Well, at that point I didn’t know where else I would go, as my first year of school was already paid for with scholarships. So then Aaron and I came to the conclusion that I should go to school for a year and see where the Lord takes me.
That summer, a month before move-in, I went on Franciscan LEAD and for the first time had an intimate experience with Jesus. The last night at adoration, God told me exactly what I was supposed to do: to go to the House of Formation. I received such peace, even when I didn’t know what the House of Formation was about. It wasn’t easy, but when it is the will of God, everything falls into place. This year has been the most freeing year of my life.
How long is the discernment process and how far along are you?
I think the length of the discernment process is different for everyone. I didn’t start seriously discerning until this past summer. I believe God is calling me to enter with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in the fall of 2017. This coming year, I will be coming back to La Crosse due to family events; my brother’s ordination is one of them.
What should young women know about the discerning journey?
On the outside, discernment looks hard and painful, but it’s the exact opposite. Discernment is so beautiful. Each day, God takes my weaknesses and strengths and turns them into something beautiful. God just wants to show each of us what beautiful women He has created us to be. The more of your life you entrust to the Lord, the greater the joy you find in your heart.
What was the most difficult part of discerning, if you could pick one?
I thought saying “yes” to God to come to the House of Formation would be the hardest “yes” I would say in my life. Who was I kidding? Mary didn’t just give God an individual “yes”; she gave a continual “yes.” Some days are difficult, they aren’t all roses. Some days, I’m stubborn and I just want to live life my way, but it’s surrendering to God in those everyday moments. For instance, like waking up early in the morning to go and pray; or living in community with beautiful women that sometimes drive you nuts; or having the daily yes to a community, a commitment or to let God work through me in a conversation.
What has been the most rewarding?
Discovering more of who God created me to be as a daughter of Christ has definitely been so worth it. Before coming to the house, I never had a prayer life. I just prayed when I wanted to — usually before going to bed. It’s incredible what God does in those 15 minutes a day if we just make room for it.
How do you know you’re on the right path?
God gives me grace to keep going. If I wasn’t supposed to be where I am at, I wouldn’t be able to continue without His grace along this path. I just continue to have faith in my beloved, that He knows what He is doing, even though I don’t always see where the road is going.
When you first realized you wanted to discern, where did you start?
I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t want to talk to my family about it, because I didn’t want them thinking or telling anyone that I wanted to be a nun. I just wanted to check it out. I would look online at different communities, but I was too scared to actually go and visit or even email because I thought a sister may think it is a weird question, or that if I would get in contact with them, I would have to eventually tell my family about what I was doing. I was very blessed to have the Holy Spirit come down and put me in the right direction, but I would tell any young girl just to overcome the fear and email or call a religious sister; they will get you on the right path. Also, always talk about what is going on inside to the Lord. If you stay faithful, He won’t let you go astray.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I start my day saying Morning Prayer with the community at 6 a.m. Following Morning Prayer, we have meditation and then Mass at 7 a.m. After Mass, we have breakfast and then I go to my volunteer job. I mostly work with fifth- and sixth-graders in math at Blessed Sacrament Elementary School. Then I have class or spiritual reading at 3 p.m. Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. is my time for physical activity and then Evening Prayer. After Evening Prayer, I eat supper and then have a little down time until 7:30 p.m. for night prayer, rosary and my exam of the day. Then, it is time for me to go to bed.
What advice would you give to other young women who are considering taking vows?
I’m a long way away, physically and spiritually speaking, to even being close to taking vows, so I don’t really have any advice. Just love God boldly and courageously!
Did you know what area you wanted to go into right away?
I knew God was calling me to become an active religious sister, and to work with people — other than that, I didn’t have clue.
To some it may be an intimidating process. What is your reaction to that?
Discernment has been the most freeing process I have gone through. The goal of discerning is discovering the truth, and sometimes the Lord has to break us of our preconceived notions of ourselves. Sometimes He even needs to break us of how we view even Him. Day by day, God shows me who I am as His beloved daughter. So many times, we buy into the lies advertised on TV commercials, ads and magazines that we forget about the only love that can truly free us, the love that comes from the Father’s hands.
How have you changed?
I have grown so far in my spiritual life, and especially my prayer life. Before coming to the house, I didn’t pray regularly, but now I know I can’t function without daily prayer.
Why are you Catholic?
Life just wouldn’t make sense without God. The more I studied biology in high school, it was pretty evident that we were created by some supernatural human being. I couldn’t roll out of bed in the morning if I didn’t know that the most omnipotent God loves me, and He has a mission awaiting me every single day. There is a purpose for every breath I am breathing. I like to look at religion as a buffet line, being any other religion, they only take the veggies, fruits and potatoes. While being Catholic, I get the opportunity to experience the whole buffet and top it off with dessert.
Where do you see God?
I see God in everyday life, in the kindness of a neighbor or even a stranger, but lately I have been seeing Him more and more in the family. I have been blessed to have grown up in such a good family, but the more I learn about the Holy Trinity, or even the Holy Family, it’s so easy to see Him in family life. Living in community at the house is another situation where I see Him, when my fellow sister picks up the slack for me when I am having a bad day. From the very beginning, God chose the family to help us learn who He is, and the family is being attacked so hard right now. It warms my heart when I see a father and daughter playing outside, or a parent being a parent and being overly protective of their child. Family life is beautiful. Where there is true authentic beauty, there is God.
Mater Redemptoris House of Formation exists to assist young Catholic women to discern their vocation in life; to form them in Christian prayer and in the understanding of the consecrated life; and to educate youth about the vocation to the consecrated life.
Founded in the Jubilee Year 2000, the House of Formation is a residential and retreat house, sponsored by the Diocese of La Crosse and staffed by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, where girls and young women can learn about religious life and discern God’s will for their lives. The focus of all programs is union with Christ, fostered through prayer, instruction, spiritual mentoring and common life. Realizing that God calls in many and diverse ways, programs are tailored to the individual and range from day programs for middle school girls to programs for high school teens and individual retreats for adults.
Some programs available to young women include:
• Elementary, middle and high school come and see retreats
• Discernment retreats
• Vocation visits
• School, parish and college visits
If you are interested in learning more about the discernment process, events, the House of Formation or the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, please contact Mater Redemptoris at Materredemptoris@gmail.com or 608.788.4530. Visit their website at www.materredemptoris.blogspot.com.