This years World Youth Day has come and gone however, the memories and inspiration for those who have experienced it in person or through media will last a lifetime. In the past, WYD has been known to foster many vocations from young attendees. In Spain this year the Holy Father spoke to young women about the importance of religious life saying, “The Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ.”
Archbishop J. Michael Miller’s Message in ‘Praying for Vocations’ 2011, states, “A sure sign of the spiritual health of a local Church is its willingness to cultivate vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life” affirming our Holy Fathers message.
Two young women from the Vancouver diocese have already heard this call to consecrated life and a brief overview of their orders will be introduced over the next couple posts. The orders they are called to are each different and unique, having its own charism and serving a specific purpose within the Church.
The Statue of Liberty, Broadway and Times Square are just a few of the world famous attractions that come to mind when one visits New York City. For Renee Schmitz traveling to the Empire State on August 31 will be about “experiencing Christ’s love through community life and to live by His providence.”
Renee was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and earned her Nursing Degree from the University of Alberta, after which she was fortunate to secure employment at Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. While living on the North Shore, Renee became an active member of St.Edmund’s Parish.
Thanks in part to an advertisement in the BC Catholic newspaper Renee became involved with National Campus Life Network from 2008 -2010. During her time she was introduced to the “Sisters of Life” order and began to discern more deeply about a vocation with the help of Carmelite Fr. Ranjan De’sa of St. Edmund’s Parish. Through prayer, in September 2010 Renee became an Aspirant of the 3rd Order of Carmelites.
God continued to move Renee in a special way when she became the Director of Canadian Nurses for Life from the summer 2009-2011. Being a nurse for the last 5 years affected Renee where she was able to see first hand the need for her to continue to work in the Pro-Life Cause.
Her decision to answer the call to her vocation did not happen over night but rather, through 10 years of prayer and understanding the importance of the Dignity of the Human Person. Renee chose the Sisters of Life because of their dedication to preserve the sanctity of every human life.
The ‘Sisters of Life’ Order was established 20 years ago by John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, who saw a great need for a more visible presence for those who will help protect life. The Formation House is located in the Bronx, which will be where Renee will spend her postulancy. It will be a year specific to the contemplative life; prayer and studies. Postulants may have 1 phone call and 1 planned visit a month and two trips home a year for week duration each. The Sisters all take the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and a fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.
When asked if she will miss being a Registered Nurse, Renee stated that although “it is difficult to put down my stethoscope my #1 vocation is love, God calls me to Love. And God will continue to use my gifts that He has given me to share with others in a special way. Unfortunately in today’s society we identify others and ourselves by our careers”.
When asked what advice she would give to other young women who might be discerning a call to the life Renee answered: “I would like to tell them to continue to open their hearts to Christ’s abundant love and graces through prayer, the Sacraments, Mass and Spiritual Direction. These are the essentials to discern God’s will in our lives and to tell women what our Blessed Pope John Paul II often called us to do, to not be afraid.”