I consider myself extremely blessed to belong to a very loving family. I am the third eldest in a family of six children. I have two older brothers, a younger brother, and two beautiful younger sisters.
I begin this brief article about my vocational discernment by mentioning my family because I think most would agree that a strong foundation, that is, a loving family, is needed for any person to become a well-rounded, value-oriented individual. I thank God for having been given that foundation.
My family is not perfect, if not far from perfect. We are a family that has gone through many hardships, but it has been the indissoluble bond of faith in the God of hope and mercy that has kept us together and has helped us grow in peace and love.
I was born in 1986 in Tampa, Fla., where the first four children of the family, all four boys, were born. After only a few years, my parents moved back to Buffalo where they had my two sisters. It was in Williamsville that I was given the gift of a Catholic education at St. Gregory the Great School from grades K through 8.
It was during those elementary years that my faith was formed and grew. My family’s faith was set ablaze due to a miraculous event in the summer of 1993 at our home in Clarence that I can only compare to the “miracle of the sun” in Fatima, Portugal. Consequently, my mother helped organize a weekly rosary group with family, friends and food, and had several Masses celebrated in our home. It was during those years that I was enrolled into the Society of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Since then I have rarely taken off my brown scapular in honor of my devotion and thankfulness to God for our Blessed Mother.
My parents divorced when I was in eighth grade, causing a major rift in the family. Much pain was suffered by all, but thankfully God “makes all things new.”
I attended Clarence Senior High for all four years of high school. It was then that my Catholic faith took a “back seat.” I cared more about my social life and having a good time than about love of God and neighbor. It was all about me. It was because of this that I caused much suffering for my mother.
Thankfully, after high school, I matured enough to recognize that I needed to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I dormed at the University at Buffalo my first semester. It was in my dorm room that I developed a prayer life. I remember getting on my knees most nights before sleeping, asking the Blessed Mother for her protection. It was during those very brief moments of prayer that I felt a burning in my soul that made me want to