My Vocation Story
Sister Emily Mary, MSCL

I first met the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light in 2009 when Mother Marla Marie came to my Maronite Youth group to speak to us about her vocation and mission as a spiritual mother in the Maronite Church.

The concept of spiritual motherhood struck a chord in my heart because as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a mother and a religious sister. I was so excited to hear for the first time that I could be both. Like a good spiritual mother, Mother Marla Marie invited the girls of my class to come on a retreat.

During this retreat, I had a profound conversion experience in which I resolved to radiate Christ’s light to those around me. I knew that keeping this resolution would not be easy, given the fact that I attended public school and I am timid by nature.

Through the grace of God, I was able to help my friend come back to his Catholic faith by our senior year of high school. I recalled the profound joy of accompanying him in his faith journey and I began to think more seriously about a vocation to religious life and spiritual motherhood.

After this, I started to volunteer with the sisters. I was secretly discerning with them, seeing if this was really what God wanted for me. I kept my heart open, and prayed that if God wanted me to be a religious sister that he would make it clearly known to me.

One occasion after volunteering with the sisters, who were giving a retreat for older women, I felt that God was calling me to leave everything and follow him as a Maronite Servant of Christ the Light.

I spoke with Mother Marla Marie about this desire, and she suggested that I finish college first. In 2016, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Boston with a degree in Political Science and Psychology and a minor in Philosophy.

After I graduated, I discerned with other Maronite religious communities but felt an even deeper conviction that the Lord was calling me to serve our Maronite families in the diaspora. I entered the postulancy as a Maronite Servant in 2019, and I am grateful to God for the gift of my vocation as a spiritual mother in service to the Church.

I started to attend weekly bible studies at my local Maronite parish hoping to find some answers. At home, I started to read the Gospels to discover more about the mysterious person of Jesus and his teachings. I found Christ’s Word to be nourishing and also challenging; I discovered I had to change to become more like Jesus, who was humble, compassionate, and forgiving. I started to put my faith into action and get more involved in my youth group and parish.

In college, my thirst to learn more about my faith grew and in my free time I began to read the lives of the saints. St. Therese the Little Flower captivated me in her book the “Story of the Soul.” She inspired me in my spirituality of simplicity, trust and child-like confidence in God’s boundless love.

At the age of 20, a significant event led me to realize my desire to be “all for Jesus”. I attended the 2005 ADORE Eucharistic Conference in Sydney. I recall coming home from the retreat crying tears of joy. In adoration, I had experienced intimately God’s awesome and personal love for me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to God for his unconditional love and goodness in my life. My mom thought something was wrong as I cried before her. This was the first time I shared with her my desire of becoming a religious sister and loving Jesus totally by giving Him back the gift of my life. At first, my mom did not understand or support this desire of mine as she wanted me to pursue my accounting career, get married and provide the many grandchildren…

After completing my business degree, I was offered an excellent work opportunity and position in commercial accounting. Six months into this job I handed in my resignation; I was dissatisfied in such a competitive, empty and materialistic career. There was an ache in my heart for more. I made the decision to go to Lebanon to discern my vocation with the Missionary Sisters of Saint Therese the Little Flower. I lived with the sisters, observing their way of life for five months. My experience with the sisters gave me a greater love and appreciation for the Maronite Liturgy, spirituality and helped me to get in touch with my passion of teaching the faith. However, I did not feel like this was home or where God was calling me to serve as a sister, so I returned to Australia in 2006 with an openness to seeking God’s will.

I continued to discern my vocation through prayer, ongoing faith formation and spiritual direction. I studied Secondary Education while working for the Church. In 2008, through a friend I was directed to a website of a new community, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. I visited the website and found myself instantly drawn to the charism. I saw the Maronite Servants to be a much needed and vital mission in our Maronite Church. The mission of the Maronite Servants’ is a radical and beautiful call to service as spiritual mothers working alongside our priests. As consecrated women, we pray for, sacrifice, and lead our people to Christ the Light, the true joy and treasure of our lives!

After discerning with Mother Marla Marie on my “Come and See,” I entered the Mother of the Light Convent as a postulant in 2010. I took my first vows of obedience, chastity and poverty in 2012 and my final vows in 2017. I currently serve as the Director for Youth & Young Adults in our Eparchy of Saint Maron. “Being all for Jesus” as his spouse has expanded and fulfilled my heart and mission as a Maronite Servant of Christ the Light. His Love is more than enough!

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.”