As a child I liked to sit alone "soaking up nature" as I called it. Early in college I read the Prologue to St Benedict's Rule: "a school for the Lord's service"...an opportunity to run the "way of God's commandments with unspeakable sweetness of Love"? YES! But it was 35 years before anything happened. I attended a talk by the founder of this Order in which he spoke not only about Julian but also about the contemplative monastic life—and it was as if a searchlight had been switched on. "This is something I can DO!" So I left my job and joined this new monastic venture. And the strange thing was that my friends and colleagues all said: "It makes perfect sense for you!" The life isn't always easy, but I feel deeply at home and content.
—a Julian nun
On a visit to St Gregory’s Abbey, in their large library, I found a book by Basil Pennington (the title is long forgotten). I was thumbing through it and came to a chapter titled: “Are you called to be a monk?” I had no idea what “a call” was. It sounded so formal, like: God was going to telephone me and let me know what He wanted me to do. That never happened! What Basil was saying, the primary criteria, is: “Do you want to be a monk?” My internal response was: “Yes!”
The Prior of St Gregory’s Abbey referred me to the Order of Julian of Norwich in Waukesha, Wisconsin to find out about their vocational process. To make a long story short, I eventually was admitted to be a postulant. Near the end of the novice year, Sr Scholastica asked the same question: “Do you really want to become a monk for the rest of your life?” My response was “Yes!”
What led me to become a monk? PRAYER—being immersed in depths of prayer I never knew existed. As a result, my awareness of the Holy Trinity mushroomed! To this day, the process is continuing.
Do you have a call “to be a nun or a monk?” The only way to find out for sure is contact a monastery and ask for information. Let the process begin. God will let you know—one way or the other.
—a Julian monk
How did I get here? I'm still not quite sure. I was fifteen when I knew I had to become a nun, and not only that, but that would. This was hilarious, because I was the next best thing to unchurched. I didn't know just what a nun was, only that it was a life of total service and that I intensely desired to serve somehow. I finished high school pretending I would go to college, but the following year realized I had to make some big decisions very fast, because that nun thing was back, and was not going away. At the Episcopal church I was attending, I told the priest, "I want to be a nun, what do I do?" He gave me a handbook of religious orders, but added, "There is a nun coming here next week, you can talk to her!" The nun was Sr Scholastica of the Order of Julian of Norwich. I had been convinced I had an active vocation because I didn't get those contemplatives, they just didn't do anything, but as soon as I visited Julian House, I knew this was it.
I have never been so happy, through all things, from the time that I have been able to give all in this way.
—a Julian nun