by Sister Deb
Every profession has its own jargon that people outside the field don’t know. At our recent Community Days at our Motherhouse in Philadelphia, I learned a term from sociologist Sr. Patricia Wittberg as she talked to us about generations and cultures in religious life. “FOMO” is short for “Fear of Missing Out”! Who knew that was a thing? It is one big reason recent generations have a greater tendency to delay or avoid life decisions.
Two days after our workshop, Sr. Janet Santibañez Merlan stood before her Sisters, Cenacle Family, and friends, and professed perpetual vows as a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity. Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience: until death an MSBT.
Sr. Janet is a young and talented woman. Born in Mexico, she is now fluent in English and has served capably in some very demanding ministries both in the U.S. and Mexico. Like any Missionary Servant, she struggled with her vocation along the way, and I am sure she had normal human doubts about her choices from time to time. God calls each of us, all the time, but we can always avoid answering. Sr. Janet accepted the struggles and doubts that came with her choice: avoiding the hard parts won’t get you to final vows!
To make a big choice, a life decision of some kind, you first have to let go of all the other choices you could have made. We may tell children, “You can be anything when you grow up!” but maybe what we also need to say is, “You can’t be everything!” Fear of missing out can paralyze a person. I wonder if avoiding final decisions, such as career, religious life, marriage, and having children is a greater tragedy than making the “wrong” decision?
The Feast of the Annunciation was a beautiful and happy day for us at the Motherhouse. Together with Sr. Janet, we celebrated Mary’s “yes” to God, and our own “yes” to vowed life as Missionary Servants. It is not without struggles and sacrifice, but it is a life we gladly choose, a life worth celebrating. And celebrate we did! Thank you, Sr. Janet of the Resurrected Christ, for your “yes”!