The Love That Beckons —
God’s love leads
to a life unimagined

Sister Christine Kunze, SCN

Source of all that I am, I seek to live rooted in love,
that I may recognize the breadth and length
and height and depth of your love.
A love which surpasses all understanding,
a love which is able to accomplish
far more than I can ask or imagine.

                                       — Eph. 3: 17-20

This poetic passage in the Letter to the Ephesians continues to stir and expand my heart as it did when proclaimed at my profession of vows more than 18 years ago. Indeed, as I seek to embrace the love that beckons, life unfolds in ways I could never have imagined.

I grew up on a small dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. My mom and dad imparted to my 10 older siblings and me to live attentive and grateful to the earth that provided for our family. The wonders of earth and creation, along with my parent’s witness of a God of love and compassion and connection to a faith community are the seedbeds of my vocation. While the thought of being a sister never entered my consciousness during my growing up years, it budded when I was at the exciting and scary juncture of leaving home and entering college. I remember so clearly a moment during an ordinary horseback ride in the woods. Surrounded by the beauty and stillness of nature and pondering the newness awaiting me, I heard my inner-self gently and without reservation say, “God, I will go wherever you lead me, even if that means being a sister.” The thought jolted me, but my horse’s stride kept me calm and in a space of openness — for a little while at least.

Over the next few years, the wonderings about religious life would wax and wane as I engaged in college life at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where I studied nursing. It was here that I first met a Sister of Charity of Nazareth (SCN). Sister Sharon Gray journeyed with me as I explored where God and my heart were leading me. Several times, I accompanied Sharon to Nazareth, giving me the opportunity to experience the SCN community more deeply.

I was drawn to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth by their ministries among the people, their sense of joy with one another, and the beauty and peace of Nazareth. I was excited to meet sisters from India, Nepal and Belize and learn about their culture and way of life. During this time, they were discerning if they should open a mission in Botswana, Africa. This spoke so strongly to me as one who was first inquiring — their willingness to risk and respond to what was before them. Could I dare to be a part of this group, a part of something beyond my understanding?

Thankfully, I did dare! Never did I imagine life would take me from the dairy farms of Wisconsin, to the horse farms of Kentucky and the sacred grounds of Nazareth. Less so, did I imagine that I would spend 11 years missioned in Belize, Central America. Currently, I am the vocation director and it is my hope that I can journey with others as they ponder and explore where their heart is leading them — perhaps as an SCN, but also in the many ways God’s loving invitation may beckon.

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