Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall

Fr. Kevin Darwent CC and Sr. Elizabeth Marie of the Holy Family are siblings who each answered a call from God to religious life. Check out their parallel stories of vocation discernment:

Sr. Elizabeth

I first felt the stirring in my heart for a religious vocation as a young girl, reading stories about saints who were religious sisters or nuns, and how completely they gave themselves to God. That touched me so deeply.

After going through a huge spiritual battle during Lent of 2016, and reconsecrating myself to Mary, I had an experience of Mary revealing, or calling forward, the desire that had always been in my heart since childhood. She showed me how the call to religious life corresponded with so many parts of my personality and who God created me to be. From that moment, I chose my vocation with a feeling of deep love and excitement. When I first put on my habit, it felt like home.

In short, Mary drew me to my order. She walked with me from childhood and I feel like she led me to the Queenship doorstep!

Fr. Kevin

I first felt a calling to the priesthood when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I had a powerful dream around that time which involved Mary our mother calling me to respond courageously to this beautiful vocation of service. As a child, I fully embraced this calling with excitement and zeal, but during my teenage years, I essentially ignored the Lord’s voice in my life, and tried to repress the calling.

After I had my powerful moment of reversion while I was in college, I started to tune into the frequency of the Lord’s voice, and I again had a strong sense of him urging me to pursue the seminary. I decided to pray a very honest prayer to the Lord: “Lord, if you want to be a priest, then give me the desire to be a priest.” I didn’t realize the effectiveness of this prayer until one day the Lord gave me a very strong desire and excitement about the priesthood. After that, I had so much more peace and clarity in my call.

What brings you the most joy in your vocation?

Sr. Elizabeth

The thing that brings me the most joy in my vocation is the bridal aspect and belonging completely to Jesus.

Fr. Kevin

Right now, as a brand-new priest, what is bringing me the most joy is being able to love the Lord’s children with the Father’s heart. Everything is so new and beautiful, and I am relishing in the graces of being able to serve God’s people in this new vocation of fatherhood. Honestly, being a priest is so beautiful and humbling at the same time.

What advice would you give to anyone feeling a call to religious life/priesthood?

Sr. Elizabeth

I would say, try to find a spiritual director or someone to journey with you. Make time for quiet and prayer and honestly observe the desires of your heart in light of God’s love. Know that every vocation comes with a cross! Have courage in responding to Him and remember that God has made you for true happiness.

Fr. Kevin

I would say be open to whatever vocation God may be calling you to, whether that is marriage, religious life, being a consecrated single, or the priesthood. Ask the Lord to give you the desire for whatever vocation he asking of you. He will be faithful to your request. When discerning a vocation, your first vocation to follow should be that of love. By this I mean pursue the Lord with all your heart and make Him your vocation. He will take care of the rest of the details of your life.

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