UP Catholic 01 15 2016 E Edition Page 12

Earlier this month she started as a postulant with the Carmelite nuns of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph located in Elysburg, Penn. She will remain a postulant for six months to one year. During this time, she and the community will discern whether the Carmelite vocation is the way of life in which God is calling her. Since a young age, Nelson has had strong examples of all vocations right in her own family to help give her a sense of Gods calling for her own life. My parents instilled in me a desire to do Gods will, and an openness to whatever His plan may be for my life. My parents have a holy and fruitful marriage, raising nine children, taking them to daily Mass and making the personal sacrifice to home school them, she explained. Not only has she seen firsthand the vocation of marriage, but also that of the religious life, as her aunt is one of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Mich. Attending her religious profes- sions and visiting their community on family visiting days enabled me to in- teract with sisters and experience the love and peace with which God fills his brides. Nelson explained that her discernment came to her from God through many avenues over the years, including daily Mass, reciting the rosary daily and fre- quent visits to the Blessed Sac- rament. She also recognizes that her vocation was fostered through her involvement with the White Army, a weekly rosa- ry group for children that responds to Our Ladys plea at Fatima for prayer and sacrifice for sinners. Accord- ing to Nelson, the froup prays the rosary together, recites the Fatima prayers and en- courages one another to offer up sacrifices. She also attributes Ignatian retreats for helping to hear Gods calling. When I was 15, I attended my first Ignatian retreat and have since continued these annually, Nel- son explained. These retreats help me draw much closer to the Lord through the chal- lenges of the spiritual exercises of St. Igna- tius, the wise advice of spiritual directors, concrete resolutions, and daily meditation. The community in which Nelson has entered is based on St. Teresas challenge, Take up that cross, daughters. I am asking you only to look at Him. See, He is only wait- ing for us to look at Him, as the Bride says. In the measure that you desire Him, you will find Him. According to Nelson, A Carmelite nun leaves all things family, friends, and pastimes in order to gaze on her Beloved in contemplative prayer, and unite her- self to His sacrifice on the Cross. A Carmelites special intentions are for priests and the conversation of souls. They are apostles and missionaries behind the cloister walls of the con- vent. Nelson learned about the commu- nity through her spiritual director who had originally mentioned it to her last January. At first, she contin- ued to keep perusing her degree in elementary education at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. However, she kept feeling God tug on her heart to visit. Thanks to generous inancial support from the Knights of Columbus, I was able to fly out to Pennsylvania for a four-day retreat at the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph during Thanksgiving break, she said. Speaking with the superiors twice a day, living the same routine as the nuns, and spending lots of time in prayer led me to decide with certainty that this was the home God had been preparing me for. I felt a strong desire to focus every- thing on Jesus from now on, and He blessed me with a great peace. The way of life, as the sisters described it and as I experienced it, was extremely attractive. Through the gift of peace and this perfect 'fit' with my natural inclinations, God showed me that this is where He wants me. 12 January 15, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC VOCATIONS www.upcatholic.org FROM PAGE 1 NELSON: Answering the call to a religious vocation PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH NELSON Elizabeth Nelson with her eight siblings on Christmas. Nelson is pictured in the second row, fourth from the left. Elizabeth Nelson y . Remember to prayer for our seminarians and sisters in formation

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