The Immaculate Conception was a big feast day in the convent I had entered. We had our letter-writing day for all of our Christmas cards on that day and it was a mad race to try and write to every person that we did not often have the chance to write the rest of the year. There was Christmas music on and different Christmas treats around in the midst of all the Advent preparations. I always enjoyed this day in the convent, and I found it difficult the first year I was home again during Advent and had to write Christmas cards whenever I chose to make time for them. There is something to be said for the beautiful way feast days are often celebrated in the convent.
Mary was someone who was difficult for me to relate to and understand prior to entering Religious Life. I did not have much of a devotion to Mary, and I often prayed the rosary half-heartedly because I felt it was a “good” thing to do. During my time in the convent, my devotion and love for Mary grew and grew. I am grateful for that gift that Religious Life gave to me.
After returning home, I found I couldn’t even speak with Jesus in prayer most of the time because I felt so completely rejected by Him. I had laid down my life and made my vows only to discern Him asking me to leave a year later. Mary was the one solace I had in leaving because I felt like she could understand my pain of feeling so separated from Jesus while still knowing in my mind that He did love me and want what was eternally best for my soul. I’m grateful for her taking my hand and leading me through the darkness of leaving Religious Life. On days when I couldn’t bear to spend a minute in prayer, I was able to say a prayer to Our Lady and find some peace with her.