On July 30, 2015 Bishop Henry called me to his office and asked if I would become the Director of a Diocesan House of Discernment for women who feel they are experiencing God asking them to consider religious life.
The house is not meant to be a “house of formation” as that is a time designated by the different religious orders for women who have made a decision to enter.
The Ave Maria Discernment house is designed to be a place to ask, “Lord, where do you want me to serve?” and then give the opportunity to hear God’s response through prayer, silence, discussion and community.
As Director of the house it is important for me to meet the needs of the women who are discerning. Since my religious order is diocesan, and therefore under the authority of the Bishop, I am in the unique position to help these women spend time discerning prior to making a decision. I have a Bachelor of Education from Brandon University and have spent 16 years in the education field. In 1997 I entered religious life and received the three years of formation in my order, The Society in the Image of the Triune God. In 2007 I attended the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington, DC and received my Masters in Theology, Marriage and Family from Rome. I have also spent time studying at Newman Theological College and St. Mary’s University. I have spent 10 years working in parishes as the youth minister and coordinator of religious education and adult faith formation.
Fr. Frank Feldmann, S.A.C. has been asked by Bishop Henry to be the Spiritual Advisor for the Ave Maria Discernment House. This is a great blessing for the house as we will be able to encounter Jesus in Mass, Adoration and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament, and through scriptural presentations. Fr. Frank is a member of a religious order and therefore will have an understanding for the calling and decision process that the women are experiencing.
Through baptism all are called to respond to God’s voice. The Ave Maria House of Discernment is a gift and a blessing from the Diocese of Calgary to women discerning religious life as it gives them an opportunity to come to a place dedicated to assisting and journeying with them.
In naming this house after our Blessed Mother Mary, who better to follow? Who better to learn from? Who better to show us how to be open to the voice of God that invites and leads us?
No matter what decisions or choices the women make, if they have deepened their personal relationship with God, become sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit, come to greater self-knowledge, their lives will be a joy and blessing to all they meet, to the Diocese and to the Church.
Submitted by: Sr. Lucille Field, S.I.T.G., B. Ed, M. Th.