Philippians 1:6 – And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (RSV)
My name is Alison Weber. I am from Houston, Texas. Actually, the way I like to describe where I am from is: I was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Oklahoma, and lived in Houston since I was 15 years old, over 27 years. It is in each of these states that I received a different sacrament while growing up within the Catholic Church. I am the youngest of four children and my parents have been married for over 52 years.
Growing up in the Catholic school system for most of my school years, I learned about God’s existence, but I never knew God. The best way to describe my past relationship with Him is that we were merely passing acquaintances. I went to church on Sundays and holy days, visited the confessional at least once a year, received my sacraments, and said my prayers at bedtime. Nothing more; nothing less.
As I got older, I simply went through the motions of living my Catholic faith. I had no clue how to defend my faith when I was questioned about it. My answer to the questions of “why do Catholics do this or that” was always “because that’s the way we have always done it”. Not very convincing.
After college, the monotony of life and church set in. At one point I even stopped going to Mass all together. It took a friend sending me to the mega non-denominational church to give my heart a jump-start. It took but just a couple weeks before I began to go to the mega church in the morning, and attend Mass in the evening. The day they had their “communion” was the last day I set foot in that church. It was then that I came to believe in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Years later, I received an invitation to go on pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia in 2008. This is where everything changed for me. It was there that I encountered the Holy Spirit. My heart was set on fire and I was ready to go out and conquer the world. The theme that year was Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” There at World Youth Day, where thousands of young people from the universal Church got together, this scripture came to life in my heart. I was a new person. I had a hunger deep down to serve the Lord. When I got back home, I became more involved in ministries, serving at church, going to bible studies, attending retreats, etc.
In 2011 I found my way to the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston where I met the Companions of the Cross. It did not take long for me to find my home there. I continued to stay involved and in 2013 became a Lay Associate of the Companions and also met the Servants of the Cross. I believe this was when I began to discern thevocation call to the consecrated life.
Over the next few years, I would see the Sisters when they came to Houston for our Lay Associates retreat. Each time I visited with them, there was a stirring deep down in my heart. In Houston we are blessed to have an Office of Vocations and I began to work with them through discernment meetings and retreats. I was able to find a spiritual director and began to seriously discern this calling from Our Lord. I had my “come and see” in September 2015 and was present for Sr. Penelope’s first promises. By December, my spiritual director and I agreed that it was time to take a step forward, put into action what I was feeling in my heart. I contacted the Sisters and applied to the Applicancy program.
The interviews quickly came, and the challenge of debt payoff loomed ahead of me. It was by the grace of God that in four short months I was able to pay off $21K in school loan debt through many generous benefactors. Now as I begin my formation, I am in awe of how quickly this past year has gone. I turn in prayer to the Lord and ask,“Why Me? Are you sure it is me that you want?” the answer always comes back “Why not you? I love you and you are mine”. I received a deep peace knowing how much He loves me andI look forward to what the Lord has ahead of me as His plan continues to unfold. I trust in His word in Philippians 1:6, “I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”. With this spiritual journey which the Lord has begun in my life, in the spirit of the ancient pilgrimage in Spain, the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, I say “Buen Camino” which means “Have a good way or journey”.