RSCJ Uganda/Kenya Province | Sharing my story

The Story of My Vocation

Teresa Aura, RSCJ Teresa Aura, RSCJ

At that moment I had never seen a nun though I desired to be one

This influenced me so much and my desire to become one of them started. She told me that the sisters always prayed. So I thought if I become a religious I would also have a chance to always pray and go to heaven, a place we were told had everything good beyond one’s imagination. At that moment I had never seen a nun though I desired to be one.

When I was in standard five, I wrote to the Carmelite Sisters in Tindinyo and told them that I wanted to become a nun. We kept in touch and they invited me to visit them. Mum had no problem but when it was time for me to move she feared to send me alone since I had never made any long journey by myself. So I never went but continued to be in touch with them for some time. Later on, after my primary education, we lost touch with each other.

I went to a secondary school and one day when I was in form three, I heard a classmate sharing what she had done during her holidays. She shared how she had a nice time with some sisters. I asked her for the contact of the sisters and when she gave this to me I wrote a letter to the vocation promoter who invited me for a live-in. These were the Assumption Sisters of Eldoret. After the national examination in form four I went for a live-in at Iten where they have a community. We were about 21 in number but a mixed group. Some were still in school, others had completed secondary education while some had had finished some training. The day before we returned to our homes, the sisters called those who had been accepted to begin formation and I was not among them. I was disappointed and started wondering what wrong I had done. Before I left, I met one of the sisters who told me I was still young and they could not take me at the time. I felt bad and did not see that as a reason for not accepting me. My Auntie who was teaching at Turbo Girls a secondary school run by the Assumption Sisters was given a prayer book to give me. May be this was to console me. I thought my chance to be a religious was gone. At the time I did not understand but now I am grateful for the time I was given because it helped me to understand religious life better before joining a congregation.

Five years later when I was working in Nairobi the desire to become a nun was still with me. I shared with some friends who told me that the religious only take girls below 22 years of age. I did not accept that so I wrote another letter to the Assumption Sisters of Eldoret. At that time, I was on my annual leave and so I paid a visit to some of my relatives in Eldoret. While in Eldoret I met a cousin of mine who was aspiring to become a religious brother. He had some pamphlets of the Religious of the Sacred Heart which he got from Br. Marcellus, a Patrician brother. Br. Marcellus and Kathleen Cronin RSCJ worked together promoting vocations to religious life.

Though I had just posted a letter to the Assumption Sisters, I thought there is no harm to visit another congregation so I wrote to Kathleen and told her what I was doing and when I would report back to work. Immediately my annual leave was over Kathleen called me on the phone in Nairobi. Kathleen introduced me to some RSCJ young professed who were studying in Nairobi and encouraged me to visit them. These were Margaret Mwarili RSCJ and Redempta Kulundu RSCJ. Kathleen also could call me whenever she was in Nairobi and we would meet. By the time the Assumption sister wrote inviting me for a live-in, I had already made arrangements with Kathleen. So I never attended the second live-in of the Assumption Sisters.

Kathleen also encouraged me to visit other religious congregations before making up my mind. She gave me addresses of both international and local congregations. I wrote to five congregations and among them were the Loreto Sisters. Out of the five I managed to attend two live-ins. One with the Sisters of Mary of Kakamega and the other with the Loreto Sisters. I got attracted to the Loreto Sisters and even became confused of whether to go to Loreto or to the Religious of the Sacred Heart. The two congregations for me were the same because I knew nothing of the charism. At this point I shared with my dad about my desire to be a nun and he had no problem. He said, “You are now mature enough and if you wish to go, that is fine”. I was grateful because when after Form IV, I mentioned to him my desire, he was hesitant.

I approached a priest in Nairobi to help me discern. He encouraged me to go for a 3 days’ retreat which I did at the Carmelite Fathers in Nairobi. At the retreat, I thought the priest would help me choose the congregation but that was not the case. I continued visiting Religious of the Sacred Heart and the Loreto Sisters. Jo Wright rscj and Kathleen journeyed with me until I made my decision. Jo Wright rscj would tell me “listen to your heart and see where you feel at peace”. What helped me to make a decision was a prayer which Annet Nankusu rscj prepared one day for evening prayer. She used the gospel reading of the day and each one had to share. I liked the sharing and felt enriched because people shared differently on what had touched them. I am grateful to all those who journeyed with me and to my mum who was a great inspiration.

I am now a finally professed RSCJ, I made final vows in Rome on January 13th 2008. Before I made my final commitment to be an RSCJ I had a chance to make a 30 day retreat. During the retreat I felt I had made a right choice and have nothing to regret. I am now serving in Karamoja and I feel at home as an RSCJ.