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While college seniors across the country are anticipating new adventures post-graduation, senior Emma Klein is looking forward to beginning her postulancy as a cloistered religious sister. Less than a month after completing her college education, Klein will join the Discalced Carmelites of Rochester, New York, on June 7, Trinity Sunday, after being inspired to pursue a religious vocation while at Christendom.

For the past four years, Klein has been an active member of the Christendom community, performing in the Chamber Orchestra, serving as a peer tutor in the Writing Center, participating in the Advanced Studies Program, studying in Rome, and more. But of Klein’s many experiences at Christendom, her most cherished has been discovering and embracing her call to religious life.

According to Klein, she has felt an attraction to religious life ever since she was a child, but she was nervous to seriously explore this potential vocation. Her exposure to religious sisters was minimal, and she had never met anyone, let alone a peer, discerning the religious life.

But when Klein started at Christendom, she found an education and community that empowered her to overcome her fears and discern a religious vocation.

“During my freshman year at Christendom, my outlook started changing. For the first time, I met other young people who were seriously considering giving their lives to God in this way,” shared Klein. “Moreover, my professors spoke of consecrated life with respect, and treated it as a normal vocational path.”

In addition to the support of her peers and educators, Klein credits the rich sacramental life and theological formation available at Christendom with helping her discover her religious calling.

Klein studied in Rome during the spring of 2019.

“I started getting to know God better. The Sacraments were so readily available, and my classes helped me discover not only the strength of His love, but also the awesome truth about His presence in my soul,” Klein remarked. “Gradually, I learned more and more that He created me for a reason, and I began wanting to discover that purpose. Religious life began to attract me very strongly, and despite a few bumps in the road I was beginning to answer God’s call.”

During her sophomore year, Klein decided to dedicate herself to exploring her religious vocation through a “six-month-discernment challenge” as laid out in Mother Clare Matthiass’ book, “Discerning the Religious Life.” During this time, God quickly began to reveal his plan. In April of her sophomore year, Klein attended a Christendom-sponsored trip to visit the Carmelites in Loretto, Pennsylvania, a pivotal moment in Klein’s discernment.

“When I visited the Carmelites in Loretto, Pennsylvania, the moment I stepped in the door, it felt like home. I was in love!” Klein shared. “I had discovered Carmel, and I don’t think I’ve really looked back.”

Over subsequent semesters, not only did Klein continue to pray and discern her own vocation, but she found ways to encourage other young women in their vocational discernment. Klein organized trips referred to as “nun-runs”, in which female students traveled to different religious communities within driving distance of Christendom for “come and see” discernment visits. During her senior year, Klein co-founded a women’s Stronghold focused on vocational discernment.

Klein and her classmates waiting to see Pope Francis at a Papal Audience.

Klein’s openness to God’s call is inspiring, as is her leadership in helping other young women in their discernment process. Klein has been an excellent example for her fellow students and has made a positive impact on the Christendom community. Yet, Klein has expressed immense gratitude to Christendom for helping her get to where she is today.

“Christendom truly has a culture that nourishes vocations– not only to religious life and the priesthood, but also to married and single life. My time at Christendom has definitely helped my faith grow, and I have also found here the encouragement, prayers, and courage I needed to accept God’s call,” Klein shared.

While today’s world may think that a college education is “wasted” on cloistered nun, Klein strongly disagrees, as she has found her Christendom education to be truly priceless.

As an aspirant, Klein has visited the monastery for periods of preparation. Read about her experience as an aspirant HERE.

“Thanks to my Christendom education … I know that I’m bringing so much with me into the cloister. I’m grateful to have been formed as a person during my time here, and I expect to use my critical reading, writing, thinking, and decision-making skills for the rest of my life. God has a way of putting our skills to good use,” Klein shared. “I’ve also received a greater appreciation for the good, the true, and the beautiful, and that will serve me well in the future. And finally, Christendom has opened my eyes to the beauty and diversity of the Church that I hope to spend my life serving.”

While Christendom was founded by Dr. Warren H. Carroll to form laypeople and help enable them to impact every level of society for the better, the college’s passionately Catholic culture has inspired many religious vocations over the past 42 years.

In June, Klein will join the ranks of these other Christendom alumni who have pursued religious vocations. In total, Christendom currently has 91 priests, 52 sisters, 7 brothers, 4 transitional deacons, 1 permanent deacon, and 17 other men currently studying for the priesthood, along with 485 alumna-to-alumnus marriages. Christendom has proven to be a font of holy vocations, which are all helping the college to fulfill its mission to “Restore All Things in Christ.”

 

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