“I am so excited to give my heart to God!”
Meet the rest of my class
My name is Lizzie Kenkel. I am called to do God’s will joyfully in imitation of Mary and St. Francis as a religious sister with the Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. This is my story.
I grew up in small-town Iowa within a loving home. My mom was instrumental in shaping my faith – she was always the first member of my family in the pew on Sunday mornings and sent me to a Catholic school.
I learned how to pray at a Catholic summer camp. I was a shy kid, so the counselors were big role models for me. I noticed how at peace they were in the silence of prayer. Their examples prompted me to approach silence as a conversation with God. I experienced God’s love in a new way and began to find my voice. With this newfound confidence, I became an avid youth conference attendee and retreat leader. I busied myself with theater and lots of singing. Yet in my rare moments of stillness, I felt a tug towards life within a religious community.
While studying at Aquinas College, I began to discern my vocation. I found incredible joy in the invitation to know the One who shaped my heart. I was anxious to love and serve the Lord, and I set my sights on graduating from college as soon as possible to pursue His will.
After I graduated, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and I spent most of the next two years supporting her through treatments. Around the same time, I began having severe heart problems. My doctors weren’t able to pinpoint what was wrong, just that it was becoming unmanageable. I feared I would never be able to live out my vocation.
I was working at my old youth camp when I met several of the Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln. I went on a “Come and See” retreat with them, and was immediately struck by the joy of their vibrant community! It became clear that these sisters welcomed every person they encountered with the warmth of the Blessed Mother. The way the Marian Sisters delight in others made entering into this new place feel like coming home.
The “Come and See” weekend with the Marian Sisters concluded with Eucharistic Adoration. During that time, I prayed, “God, if this is your will for me, hold my heart.” Shortly thereafter, my doctor uncovered the root of my heart problems. With this renewed hope in my future, my mom told me, “You have to stop putting your life on hold waiting for everything to be okay.”
The more I come to know the Sisters, the more I fall in love with their mission of doing God’s will joyfully, in imitation of Mary and St. Francis. The Marian Sisters live out this charism with such clear intentionality. There is a nurturing love in all that they do – from education and social work to healthcare. I am so excited to give my heart to God! May my life in Him allow all I encounter the opportunity to experience the beauty, freedom, grace, and joy of Christ’s love.
Please pray for me and my fellow Labouré classmates as we begin the journey to formation. Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have at: Lizzie@rescuevocations.org.
Download a PDF of my story
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