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WCYR: An Introduction to Vocation and the Religious Life

"In March 2014, I was a freshman in high school, and I was not sure how I felt about the faith. I had decided to give the faith one more chance, until Easter, before I decided if I wanted to keep practicing the faith. At the encouragement of my High School campus minister and a young woman from my high school who was on the God Squad, I signed up to go to WCYR. While there I was struck by how many high schoolers were there. I had attended two very small Catholic grade schools, and had never considered that there could be this many people my age who practiced the faith.

At some point in the day, Fr. Luke and some seminarians got up on the stage to do a skit about vocation, and while I was pretending to think it was dumb, I knew something was going on in my heart that I didn't really understand. Later that day, when Sr. Miriam got on stage I was completely captivated. I had never met a sister who wasn't old enough to be my grandmother, and I found myself saying, "if God can do all of that in her life, I wonder what he can do in mine?" That night in Adoration, I encountered Jesus, and my life has never been the same. When they did the vocation call, I found myself walking to the front of the room even though I did not really understand what a vocation was. One thing I did know was that my life would never be the same.

Since then, the Lord has slowly taught me how to pray, invited me to deeper conversion, and occasionally returned to those first questions about vocation. in 2022, it was a gift to be able to come back to the youth rally with a group of teens. While I was there with them, it was clear that the Lord was not done with those graces from that first rally years before. In August, I will be entering religious life with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN, and while I am sure the seeds of this vocation were planted in my heart at my baptism and have been cultivated by many people and encounters over the years, I know that I thought about religious life for the first time at the Wisconsin Catholic Youth Rally.

All this to say, thank you! It often takes a long time to see the fruit, but I know that Arise is a gift to the church here in Milwaukee."

– Emily N.

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