Making a Lifetime of Difference
By Sr. Meg Kymes, D.C.
The Vincentian Service Corps motto was “A year of service makes a lifetime of difference.” I know that motto is true for me. When I came to VSC, I was hoping to find a career path and meet some new people along the way, but I did not count on one year making as big a difference in my life as it has. In a letter to Sister Elisabeth Hellot, one of the first Daughters of Charity, St. Louis de Marillac tells Sister Elisabeth, “If you place yourselves often in the presence of God, His goodness will not fail to advise you on all that He asks of you…” As I look back at my journey from a VSC volunteer to a Daughter of Charity for three years now, this line comes to mind.
My journey began during my first weekend at the VSC house. We invited over the Daughters of Charity who lived in St. Louis along with other volunteer groups in the area. When the Daughters came to the house, there was an instant sense of joy that permeated the house. Everyone was laughing and smiling. I thought to myself, “I wish I could be happy like that.” Immediately, I heard a small quiet voice inside me say, “You could…” I tried to push that voice away, answering it with a strong, “NO!” But, the more and more I pushed, the bigger this feeling got. I realized I could not avoid this, so I met with our volunteer coordinator who was also the vocation director for the Daughters. I told her I felt called to religious life and she guided me on what my next steps could be. She guided me towards my next steps of retreats and meeting more of the Daughters.
During this discernment, I still continued to work at my service site and to enjoy my time with my community members. I prayed that God would help me find a way to continue my life of service because I was finding that happiness that I saw in the Daughters in this life. I enjoyed community life with my fellow volunteers. We were blessed that we simply enjoyed being with each other. I looked forward to coming home and having dinner with my fellow volunteers and offering our reflections on our experiences. Even to this day, we still try to keep in touch with each other. Through my service, I was beginning to understand the differences between a ministry and a job. I found I was building relationships with my clients and getting to know them as people rather than simply consumers of services.
I continued to listen to where God was calling me; I tried to sense where I felt the peace that only God could give. I spent one evening a week with the Daughters who lived near the volunteer house. We prayed together, ate dinner together, and watched the news. It was a great opportunity to get a glimpse of what the day to day life was like for the Daughters. My vocation director invited me to retreats with other women who were looking into religious life. It was a time to set aside and listen deeply for God’s voice and meet people who were also interested in religious life. It also helped me to know I wasn’t alone. The more time I spent in prayer and the more time I spent with the Daughters, the more I felt God was calling me to spend my life serving Him and His people.
If you make room in your life for silence and prayer, God will show you where He wants you to be - whether that be religious life or not. He will send you little hints along the way, in your daily life or in your time of prayer. If you pay attention, God will give you the chance to make a lifetime of difference.
Sr. Meg Kymes, D.C. served as a Vincentian Service Corps volunteer in St. Louis before answering the call to join the Daughters of Charity.