Chicago: Honestly Sharing Our Vocation Stories

Chicago Vocation Story

By Fr. Jim Berning, SDB

(Chicago, IL – April 3) – During spring break, Br. Pascal Mukuye and Pre-novice Nicholas Jandernoa spent a week with us. They were able to disclose their vocation stories in several different settings. However, the vocation gathering served to be the most evocative. The participants of that night included adolescents from the National Catholic Youth Conference held in Indianapolis, young adults from our “come and see” discernment weekend, and other young adults at large.

Both Br. Pascal and Pre-novice Nicholas framed their vocations to include a vulnerable piece of their lives, which they were able to weave into their vocation journeys. While the adolescents did not have many comments for the vocation presenters, the young adults had plenty of meaningful responses. In fact, one young adult, who is discerning a vocation, stayed with the SDBs for an hour after the event to discuss the intricacies of his own vocation.

There is something to be said about expressing vulnerable moments in telling one's vocation story. Such an approach brings those discerning a vocation to reflect more honestly and realistically about following God's call. However, accepting and coping with one's vulnerability is necessary, not just for those discerning a vocation to religious life, but for everyone as they discern God's will in their lives. Brene Brown demonstrated this in her TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.” As a researcher in the discipline of human communication, she revealed that when her career became paralyzed due to issues raised in her own research, by facing her vulnerabilities, she was compelled to tell her story to help others face their own. To date, 65 million viewers have watched Brene’s presentation.

In his recent publication of Don Bosco and Digital Reality, Fr. Gildasio Mendes claims that Don Bosco's communicative genius was manifested in his interpersonal approach. By tapping the hearts of youth with empathy and by giving them a sense of belonging, Don Bosco developed a personal relationship with them and left an indelible impression on them. As we dream together in interpreting Don Bosco's dream at nine years old, may we see the relevance of facing our own vulnerabilities, so that we can better serve young people by helping them to explore, embrace, and respond to their vocation in life.

April 3, 2024 - 11:30am
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