Reflection On a Call

May 15, 2011: National Day of Prayer for Vocations

By Mary Ita Hayes, MHSH

“I have come that you may have life, life in all its fullness” John 10:10

What has been the richest period of your life?  What do you really want to do in your life?  How does God speak to you about your life?  Discerning a call/vocation is not a matter of choosing the more appealing of a variety of options; rather, it is openness to discovering God’s will.

Many of us gradually discovered how God was calling us when we were in high school or as young adults.  I prayed to the Holy Spirit to help me to get serious about discernment.  I started looking for signs that God provided for me.  What gave me life?  As a catechist in a very poor parish in Roxbury, Massachusetts, I found life.

Reading about the Maryknoll Missionaries, Priests, Brothers and Sisters, as well as the magazine about the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart, often gave me more questions than answers.  I was challenged to ask: What do I really aspire to?  What am I willing to do or to stop doing to reach my aspirations?  What am I afraid of? Who do I need to talk to about my desire to serve others and to follow in Jesus’ footsteps?

God’s path for me was the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.  I entered the Mission Helper Community on November 5, 1953.  What has been my experience?

Sister Mary Ita Hayes with Sister Amarilis Flores Arrioja, who took Final Vows in 2007

Well, I first had to learn that my vocation as a missioner in the USA and in Latin America was not to save the world.  I learned that whatever I accomplished today is enough for me.

My call continues today after fifty-seven years as a Mission Helper.  It is a call to live simply; to live more deeply; to live more authentically to the commitment I made in Baptism and to the vows that I made to God as a Mission Helper of the Sacred Heart.  My call is to love fully and leave the rest up to God – the ONE in charge!

Lord, teach me to be generous.  Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give without counting the cost; to struggle and not heed the wound; to labor and not ask for reward; except to know that I am doing your will.  Amen

A prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola

[Women wishing to speak with a sister about a vocation to religious life are invited to contact Sister Mary Ita at].

0 thoughts on “Reflection On a Call

  1. What a nice, simple reflection on vocation. Thank you for reminding us that, if we are listening, we are always learning–learning the meaning of our life’s vocation, and learning to live into that wonderful quote from John. Thank you.

  2. Mary, I can identify with the questions you asked. Thank you for articulating all so well. How precious is our vocation! Dolores SSJ

  3. Mary: Thanks for such a clear and true description of a missionary vocation. I do think that all of us are called to do that very basic kind of living wherever we find ourselves and often it is with the poor and suffering. You are a good listener for those who need to talk. Peace and blessings from tm

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