Dominican sisters offer tips about vocational discernment to students

Emily Salerno-Oswald
Scripture Columnist

Young women filed into the Fireside Lounge Friday at 7 p.m. for an evening with religious sisters who spoke about the importance of taking the first steps in religious vocational discernment.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, hosted the event, which was entitled, “Be Not Afraid! Your Vocation and Your Holiness.”

The evening began with a talk by Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP, about what the term “vocation” really means.

“It’s not what you do. It’s who you are,” Bogdanowicz said. “One of the biggest problems with young people is that they don’t know who they are.”

Bogdanowicz said young men and women should not try to be somebody that they are not, especially in the process of discerning their vocations. She said each person’s vocation is predetermined by God from the beginning of time and is built into a person as his or her individual way to love.

Bogdanowicz said many young people feel indecision, nervousness and apprehension when discerning vocations, but God’s love for his children is limitless, and his plans are perfect for each person.

She said, “One friend has loved you forever. God is your truest friend. … Love knows ahead of time the greater good and desires it for the beloved.”

Bogdanowicz said it is important to not put off exploration of vocation “until tomorrow.”

“When God calls, he means it,” she said. It’s the discerners job to “take the first step. … Only the vocation that God has for you is gonna fill your heart.”

“You do not become perfect for your vocation; your vocation makes you perfect,” she said.

Sister Mercedes Torres, OP, spoke about the essential role the family plays in the formation of identity and in the discovery of vocations.

Torres said, “The home, the house, the family is the first Church, because that’s where you first know who you are.”

Freshman Summer Derwald said she liked how one of the sisters forgot what day it was during her talk because it showed how consumed she was with the present moment.

The Dominican sisters offer several retreat opportunities for young women at their mother house in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Upcoming retreats will be Feb. 12-13, April 2-3 and Nov. 5-6, with more information at

The event was sponsored by Student Life.