SMU Students Come Visiting Sr. Paz

Last Tuesday, April 2, was a wonderful evening. Seven young women from Saint Martin’s University visited us along with Campus Minister Nick Hoffman. I welcomed them at the Priory’s entrance, where it was very nice to meet familiar faces--Reine, Nick, Bianca, and greet new faces--Lillian, Daniela, Carina, Carmelina and Delaney. I gave them a tour of the Spirituality Center, and the Stations of the Cross—created and donated to the Priory by artists Renata and Walter Siegl.

The Priory Spirituality Center

After that it was time to visit the Priory. As we were enjoying and exploring the many books of the library, one of the twin sisters (Carina or Carmelina) asked me about the path to become a Benedictine sister. I was pleasantly surprised that this was her first question, so I happily explained the steps to become a Benedictine sister. I answered that the main step is to learn to discern, to hear with our heart the call of the spirit. It is also a great support to have a spiritual director to help us discern. Then to contact a vocation director sister. She will give you orientation and accompany you during the whole process. In this way your spiritual director, vocation director and you, together with the community, decide when it is time to knock at the door of the monastery to become a candidate. Note that each step is discerned by the seeker and the community.

After more time studying the Rule of Benedict, discerning and experiencing the Benedictine rhythm of life: prayer and work—Ora et Labora, the candidate can ask to be moved to the next step, postulancy. This is a time of continued study, discernment and prayer. If the Postulant is happy and discerns together with her formation director that this life fits her well, with the Prioress’s approval she can move to the next step, the novitiate.

In the novitiate she will have a novice director who guides her to go deeper in her spirituality, knowledge of herself and yes, more discernment. Is this life really for me? Am I following the call of the Holy Spirit? If the answer is yes, then she may be ready for First Profession. First profession is a time of going even deeper. It seems that getting to know yourself and your gifts of the spirit are ever-ending tasks. Yes, they are, and they’re very rewarding too.

Then we have final profession. When we arrive at this step after many years of discerning, we are ready to surrender to God’s will completely. Surrender to continue getting to know God and ourselves more. To serve God through many diverse ministries.

It is very gratifying being around mindful and engaging young women asking deep questions. We were talking happily when it was time to stop to attend Mass. It was a special Mass where we had anointing of the sick. Some of the women and Nick each paired with a sister and presented themselves before Father Justin—our chaplain, a Benedictine monk from Saint Martin’s Abbey, to be anointed.

Bianca and Delaney at Mass with the Sisters at St. Placid

It was so special to sing the Easter alleluias with all of them. After that we went to the refectory (dining room). Prioress Angela Hoffman blessed our food and then the sisters and the students distributed evenly in the tables to allow every young woman to chat and ask all they wanted to know about our life as Benedictine sisters in Lacey. We enjoyed our chef Nico’s food and fresh chocolate chip cookies.

Left: Lillian and Daniela; Right: Reine, back to camera, facing Sr. Paz

After that we moved to the sister’s community room, where we usually spend our recreational time. Here we usually have a puzzle in progress, and this time was no exception. Our conversation continued, as sisters talked about our favorite saints or admired hero or person, and what we love the most about our life as Benedictines. Sr. Monika and I talked about how gratifying it is to offer spiritual direction. Some sisters talked about the privilege of living in a place where prayer is a priority. We also discussed living a meaningful life in the service of others and always growing: St. Benedict said clearly that the monastery is a school for beginners.

Daniela, Carina and Carmelina enjoy visiting in the Sisters Community Room

We noticed how the time flew so fast, it was already time for evening prayers and we didn’t finish answering all the questions. Since prayers are our priority, we said goodbye to go and pray the Divine Office, but not before promising ourselves more encounters, perhaps a retreat and a Bible study. We still have many questions and concerns or curiosities to answer. Next time we meet, I will be sure we have more time to share—perhaps a two-day retreat or a monthly meeting would be helpful, too.






  • Comment posted by Susan DeRosa on April 9, 2024 at 10:20AM (2 months ago)


    My adult daughter, Maggi, and I are very interested in coming for a visit or tour. We are local Catholics and are bringing her three grade-school aged daughters into the faith, while learning and growing our own.

    May we arrange a visit? Please let us know if you need more information, thank you.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Susan Mary DeRosa @ 360.791.5692 (call or text)
    Margaret Mary Newell @ 619.517.7233 (call or text)

  • Comment posted by Janice J. Ariza on April 6, 2024 at 4:01PM (3 months ago)

    This is wonderful! All of those lovely young people sharing a meal and asking questions.
    Thank you for sharing this, Sr. Paz!

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