Read: My Sisterhood Story: Sister Pio Maria OP


Read: My Sisterhood Story: Sister Pio Maria OP

“I wrestled and ran still more, seemingly as the rich young man who went away sad when Christ asked him to sell everything he had and follow Him,” recalls Sister Pio Maria OP of her sophomore years studying abroad in Austria while a student of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, “Yet, in His great mercy, the Lord waited for me. He knew I wanted to say yes.”

That big “yes” came upon encountering the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor back in 2011. Eight years later Sister Pio Maria took her perpetual profession of vows. Wow! Deo gratias. Here’s her full story:

“It all began with the Holy Spirit. In my own experience of Pentecost, through a Life in the Spirit seminar which was part of my preparation for confirmation as a high school junior, things like scales fell from my eyes and I could finally see that scripture was living and directly applicable to my life. I could finally hear His voice. I was captivated. In days and weeks following, I found myself before the Lord in adoration reading about how He asked Jeremiah, in view of the mission God had for him, not to marry. That was the first ‘tug’. And yet, it would take more than that to open the floodgates of my trust and responsiveness into His hands.”

“Knowing that I wanted my life of faith to continue to grow, I attended college at Franciscan University of Steubenville. It was here that my identity in Him began to grow roots and good friendships grew in tandem, compelling me to frequent the adoration chapel, daily Mass, prayer teams, and evangelization mission trips. I had found the Lord and others who loved Him. I had to share Him! Still, the question of a vocation was on the back burner. The spring of my sophomore year found me beneath the foothills of the Swiss Alps in Gaming, Austria. I studied abroad that semester and was struck by beauty, surrounded by the footsteps of the saints, and plunged into the silence of a drastically decreased use of technology. In that silence, in prayer, in adoration, and in praise and worship in the midst of my peers, the question of vocation returned yet again. Still, I was reluctant. I wrestled and ran still more, seemingly as the rich young man who went away sad when Christ asked him to sell everything he had and follow Him. Yet, in His great mercy, the Lord waited for me. He knew I wanted to say yes.”

“I had returned to main campus in the fall of my junior year to be a part of orientation team for the incoming freshman. A conversation about vocations came up with a friend who saw a vocation in me. He challenged me to pray for a union of my will with God’s will every day. I somewhat reluctantly accepted and began doing so and by the end of that month, while at Mass, I was struck anew, as if for the first time, by the depth of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. All I could see was that this love demanded a response of my whole being, a response of love that only He could provide, a reciprocal gift that spoke the same words that the Father spoke to the elder son in the parable of the prodigal son: “everything I have is yours”.”

“Immediately following this, I began visiting religious orders with a friend who I had also discovered was discerning. None seemed to fit until one day, our senior year, she googled religious communities with devotion to Mary and the Eucharist. Who popped up first but the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist? Over our winter break my senior year of college I scoured the website, reading all that I could. After being very much convicted that we needed to go on retreat, she and I drove up for the February retreat in 2011. I remember hoping that this was ‘it’ though, at the time, I had an interview for graduate school scheduled the Monday after the retreat. That was about to change.”

“Within hours of being in Ann Arbor, it seemed I had found the ‘pearl of great price.’ It now remained for me to sell everything I had to possess it. Surrounded by the voices of the sisters singing to Our Blessed Mother, it seemed like there was no place on earth I could be happier. Still, I needed one last push to give my unreserved and trusting ‘yes’. I sat before the Lord in the Eucharist late into the evening of the retreat with my Bible, knowing how assuredly He had spoken to me in His word throughout my life and expecting Him now to do the same. The first passage my eyes fell on was John 17:19 “and I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.” There it was: He who would be the very source and root of my consecration praying for me, that I may be consecrated in truth, consecrated in Him, made holy as His own spouse. Who could refuse such a gift that contained both the call and the fidelity with which to respond to the call? It was as if He were saying directly to me “everything I have is yours” and He simply awaited my reply with His same words. The next morning, I found myself talking to Sr. Joseph Andrew, asking for papers to enter, and cancelling my interview for graduate school. I finally said ‘yes’! It was the first of a multitude of yeses that would lead to my perpetual profession of vows in 2019, and by His grace, an unceasing number of yeses thereafter!”

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