I grew up in East London in Stratford, in an Irish Catholic family.
I am the only surviving child of my mother and father, and whilst growing up I was surrounded by many aunts, uncles and cousins who practised their faith. My mother brought me up from the age of five by herself, and we were faced at times with hardships and difficulties. But my mother was a woman of great faith, and she had a very personal and real relationship with Jesus and Mary His Mother, which she shared and passed on to me.
From a young age I had a strong sense of God in my life, through going to church and making my first Holy Communion and Confirmation, and my prayers at home with my mother. In many ways, I lived in a very Catholic world: the Franciscan Friars who ran the local parish at Stratford where I lived, and the Ursulines sisters who taught me at school. God was very important to me and I had this deep desire to want to get to know Him more, and I knew He already knew all about me. I remember when I was at school and thinking to myself: what am I going to do with my life? At one time I wanted to be a nurse and maybe a police woman, and then this strong thought came to me, why not a nun? At the time I did laugh to myself, but from then on the thought never left me. I did try to push the thought away and get on with my life so to speak, but like I said it was always there. I left school and went to work as a classroom assistant for about four years.
During this time I had good friends and a job that I liked. Life was good but I knew deep down inside myself that something was missing. As my relationship with Jesus deepened, I soon realised that the vocation to religious life was still there. After a while, I joined a L’Arche community where I lived for six years. I thought that living in a community, but not a religious one, would help me to move on from religious life. I kept on telling myself that it was not meant for me, and I would meet someone and get married and have lots of children and life would be great. While I lived in L’Arche I had lots of fun: I got to know many different people from around the world and visited different countries, but I also got to learn a lot about myself.
My discernment to religious life continued and I discerned that God was calling me to contemplative life. After a while, I discovered an enclosed contemplative monastic community. I lived in the community for four years. After my first profession, I started to realise that I was being called by Our Lady and Jesus to still remain a religious but not enclosed, and further yet to come back to England and join the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham. I realised that this was very important and I needed to do something about what was going on for me.
I made my first profession on the 25th March 2017 with Sr Carina. We had such a joyous celebration with the rest of the community, and with family and friends. I had such joy and peace in my heart that I was consecrated to the Lord again in religious vows. The Lord has given me so much in my life, and each day I thank Him for everything – even the most difficult times in life, as I truly know that it was during these times that I was the most open to Him. For me, Mary is such a wonderful and beautiful example: she listened to the will of God in her own life and not only did she do His will, but she lived in His divine will every day of her life. As my mother, she encourages me and guides me to come closer and closer to her Son each day so that I can say my FIAT to Him just as Mary did and, with her, be able to say “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.” Amen.