Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 26, 2007
Seekers for life's vocation find help from unique 'midwife'
By LASHA MORNINGSTAR
"If you can do something beautiful for God, then you will find your vocation."
"I went from everything from marriage, to consecrated secular life, to religious life, to contemplative life, to priestly life, to permanent deacon," says Bilodeau.
She compares herself to a triage doctor who assesses and then channels the spiritual seeker to the right "specialty."
"God is the one who is calling. I am just helping them to discern."
One man married when he was young. The marriage broke up and he was left with an eight-year-old son.
"I'd always wanted to be a priest, but there was no one to talk to," he tells Bilodeau.
"Then this nice girl came along and we married. But this wanting to be a priest keeps coming back to me."
Her advice is pragmatic, yet hopeful. Wait 10 years until his son is 18. Have his marriage annulled. And then apply at the seminary.
Another divorced woman is thinking seriously about religious life.
One in similar circumstances is thinking about the Oblates.
"I did not know a lay person could remain a lay person!" she exclaims to Bilodeau. Bilodeau understands. "She has her apartment. She has her life. She has her career."
Sisters are also at the workshop and they answer participants' questions such as "How do you pray?" "What is your schedule?" "What do you do?"
"So it demystifies what a sister is," says Bilodeau.
Not all paths come easily.
Bilodeau tells one story of meeting young men who did not meet seminary requirements because they could not preach.
"I took time, and listened, listened, listened and realized there was still a call from God.
"It became clear that they had a vocation to consecrated life."
With Bilodeau and the Holy Spirit's guidance, the men became brothers.
"And they love it - brothers serving the sick, the homeless. And they are very happy.
"So this is very rewarding. I see the Lord at work in their lives. They found the meaning of their life, their raison d'etre."
One of the workshop women finds she is attracted to the contemplative life, maybe the Carmelites. So Bilodeau took her and another girl also wanting to examine the Carmelite path to the Carmelite Monastery Sunday. If that is where God wants them to be, Bilodeau will bow out and hand their spiritual care over to the Carmelite prioress.
An older man found himself drawn to the permanent diaconate and took information for that calling.
No one expects that by the end of the day participants will have discovered their vocation so they are given a list of resource people they can contact.
"But at least they will have the means and tools and that is what they wanted," says Bilodeau.
At the conclusion of the workshop, Bilodeau left the weary yet enthusiastic participants with this counsel.
"The main thing is to respond to the call of God and remember what Mother Teresa said.
"All that she did was something beautiful for God. And if you can do something beautiful for God, then you will find your vocation."
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