Vocation Stories: Sr. JoAnn Jackowski, FSP
Vocation Stories: Sr. JoAnn Jackowski, FSP
January 14th, 2012 by vocations

Today’s Vocation Story comes from Sr. JoAnn Jackowski of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor

Like many other women who embrace consecrated life, I have been asked many times why I became a sister.  My response: I entered as a child of 14 for a 14-year-old-child’s reason –

I thought it would be fun!!!  More important to me is why I chose to stay.

The question stirs in my heart; but like so many others things that are real, it seemed difficult to explain. I found a clear “naming” of my experience as a consecrated woman in New Wineskins, a book by Sandra Schneiders:  The world is full of people who enter into specific lifestyles for a variety of reasons and with varying amounts of intensity.  If we look at artists and musicians, we see that some dabble in their arts.  They may have taken lessons as a child because they thought they would like it or because their parents wanted them to – only to drop them when they got older.  Others found interest in art and pursued it for pleasure.  Still others made a career of it because they were good in it.  And some special few find a passion for art or music burning within them – and they decide that they don’t want to live without expressing themselves artistically.  They would rather paint than eat; they pursue music with their whole being.  It is life and breath to them.  Their passion becomes so intense that they shape their lives around it: they rise, eat and sleep according to what allows them the best advantage for practice or performance.  They live, socialize and schedule time with others who share their passion.  Truly, their whole life centers around music – or art.  Their love defines them, shapes their life, nourishes their soul and fills their days with a hunger for more.

I have remained a woman in consecrated life for this reason – because deep in the core of my heart, permeating the layers of my soul, is a hunger and thirst to know and love the Holy One.  I struggle to understand how, and why, Divine Mystery has entered our world and my life.   I wonder about the love of an Unlimited Being who would choose to express itsSelf in Limitation, so that the limited could expand beyond the boundaries that enclose it.  I want to grow to the fullness of my capacity and more – growing, reaching out, expanding in each season of my life, even if that means breaking through to a new life like a tree shatters its bark in order to grow in each new season.  This passion for Life consumes me; it directs my choices, my daily schedule and my friendships.  I choose to remain in community because it is here that I find like-minded women who have also felt that stirring within and want to respond with their whole being.  Together, we are energized by the struggle, by the defining and re-defining, by the rhythm of loving and letting go and loving again.

The older I get, the more I realize how little in life is certain – and how little I know about my self and others.  I do know this:

  • It is God’s call I am responding to by the grace provided by God.
  • God loves each of us with an intensity that is beyond belief, beyond comprehension.

And even as I reach to respond to Divine Mystery with a fullness of Love – my feet are planted firmly on earth.  My experience of God is rooted in life, and I struggle to live and respond to relationships, service and growth — professionally, personally and spiritually.  I make a lot of mistakes and often must endure their consequences.  Yet, I have learned that in the tension between the beautiful words and lived reality, there is a place of grace.  And the grace for which I pray daily is the grace to be faithful to Love which calls me into Being at each moment.

What keeps you attracted to your faith? How are you showing that passion for the faith in your daily life?

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