The Catholic Church has declared many female Saints who often did not experience such a smooth and straight road on their path of persevering in their vocation. Many times they were left with feelings of disappointment, uncertainty, and uneasiness as they traveled along hitting bumps and roadblocks along the way. But they all kept their gaze fixed upon the Lord, and continued to follow Him into the unknown, where they longed for the day that they could belong completely and totally to Christ. These women despite any adversity and hardship in fulfilling their vocational call moved forward without fear as they placed all of their trust and confidence in the Lord, Who guided them to that which was His Holy Will.
As women who are discerning our vocational calling in this day and age, especially now during this difficult time of the Coronavirus, racial tensions, and a lack of belief in the Real Presence by many of our Catholic brothers and sisters, we can find ourselves slipping into a state of frustration, hopelessness, and even despair. Some of us cannot work up the courage to fight against the tide and answer the call to do what God calls us to do, or we are trying to answer the call, but find ourselves in a continuous struggle to find out where God wills for us to be lead.
Sometimes the road to our destination can be paved with crooked lines, but in the end it is that we get there, and we will by relying on the Lord with our whole heart, mind, and soul, and living in abandonment to the Divine Will. When we surrender ourselves to God it must be our entire selves; it is either all or nothing. We must be like the Saints, and continue on the journey towards the Bridegroom with our hearts burning for love of Him. It is by God's grace that we will receive and accept the gift of holy perseverance. We can't get there on our own, but He can help us, so we have to let Him.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
The Little Flower initially felt the desire in her heart to become a Carmelite nun when she was nine years old. When she asked permission to enter Carmel at age 14 she was denied entrance. St. Thérèse again requested permission this time from the Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, and once more she was not granted her request. She did not give up on her call to leave everything behind to follow Christ, and went on a Pilgrimage to Rome in hope of making her request to the Pope. It was after receiving Pope Leo XIII's blessing that she later was accepted to Carmel at age 15 in April 1888. After becoming a novice once more The Little Flower experienced more suffering in having to wait until she was 17 to make her perpetual vows due to the wishes of the Carmelite Superior who wanted her to wait. Finally, in September 1890 St. Thérèse professed her final vows.
Saint Josephine Bakhita
Another saint who had to wait to enter religious life due to much struggle in her life is St. Josephine Bakhita. She was forced into slavery as a child, where she was abused and suffered much torment by her first several slaveholders. It was when she stayed with the Canossian Sisters in Venice Italy during a family move that she knew that she had a call to religious life. After fighting against racism and injustice she finally won her freedom to be able to enter religious life in 1896 as a Daughter of Charity.
Saint Xavier Francis Cabrini
Most commonly known as Mother Cabrini, this saint was turned away from a religious community when she tried to enter after the death of her parents in 1870. The Sisters rejected her because they felt that she had too poor health to live the life of a religious sister in their community. A priest asked her to teach at the House of Providence orphanage in Cadagono, Italy and it was there that she was able to attract a small group of women to live a community life with her. She made her vows in 1877, and later founded her own order, The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Mother Cabrini faced still more challenges once she left to begin a mission in New York, but ultimately she was able to found 67 institutions in various parts of the United States.
Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified, O.C.D.
Another Carmelite Saint who experienced adversity in her discernment was St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, who was rejected by two communities before finally being able to become a Carmelite. She entered the Sisters of Compassion in Lent of 1865, but was sent home after only two months due to illness. Then she became a postulant with the Institute of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition, but after two years was dismissed from the community because they felt she was not called to the cloistered life. Finally, in the late spring of 1867 she became a Carmelite in the Monastery in Pau, before later leaving to help found a new Carmel, first in Mangalore, and then in Palestine.
It took an extremely long time for the dream of St. Monica for her son, St. Augustine to convert from his pagan ways, to come true. She persevered in prayer day and night waiting for the day when her son would have a change of heart, and be led to the Christian faith. After 17 years of much tears and sacrifice St. Augustine finally came home to the Catholic Church, and was baptized as a Christian. After St. Monica's death, which was not long after St. Augustine entered into the faith, he lived the rest of his life as a devout Christian who later became a monk, priest, and then a bishop.