Ana Sofia Corona, left, shares tips on discernment with a student during vocations week at Seat of Wisdom College. Photo by Madison Giesbrecht, SWC

Seat of Wisdom College hosts vocations week

By  Monica Sifert, Youth Speak News
  • March 16, 2018
When it comes to discerning vocations, there are always going to be fears because no one knows what tomorrow brings. But whatever your vocation is, joy is the ultimate aim.

That was the lesson Alena Afelskie learned, and one she shared during vocations week this month at Seat of Wisdom College (SWC) in Barry’s Bay, Ont. 

Meghan Dessailly, associate dean of students at SWC, started a vocations night when she was a student at SWC. 

“Vocations night was started as a way for us to connect with women in their vocations and get a better view of how you know you are in the right place,” she said. “Now as a dean, I wanted to start it up again this year to give the students the same opportunity we had years ago.” 

Afelskie’s husband, Dave, and Fr. Robert Arsinault were speakers for men’s vocations. However, it was the three women’s vocations talks that were most popular on campus.

Afelskie is a mother of seven, going on eight.  

She talked about fearing a vocation to religious life and also fearing the decision to marry, but she found consolation in Christ. “It’s about the giving over of control to Him,” she said.

She also talked of her husband’s humility, patience and spiritual maturity that brings peace to their relationship.

The second guest, Ana Sofia Corona, is an applicant to be a consecrated lay person with the Madonna House Apostolate in Combermere, Ont. Corona talked about consecrated life, discernment and responding to the call to community life at Madonna House.

“The fact that fear played a role in my journey taught me more about who I am,” said Corona.

Corona added that prayer, spiritual direction and receiving the sacraments helped her to discern. She said that her career is her vocation and that “there is no vocation without sacrifice.”

Corona brought along two icons, one of Sts. Joachim and Anne called “The Crowning” and the other a Byzantine icon called “Christ in Glory.” She said she has been praying with them during her discernment process, helping her see the beauty in whatever God was calling her to, whether it was conventional marriage or being married to Christ in consecrated or religious life.

Erin Nicholson closed vocations week with her talk on “Authentic Catholic Womanhood.” As mother of six children from ages two to 14, she said she relied on prayer, especially a prayer to Our Lady Undoer of Knots. In times of trial, she also recommended turning to Psalm 31: “I trust in thee, O Lord, I say, ‘Thou art my God.’ My times are in thy hand.”

Nicholson stressed the importance of making boundaries for herself and only taking on what you can handle. 

“We always jump to loving your neighbour and we don’t love ourselves. You can’t give to others without loving yourself,” she said. 

Even spending five minutes on her porch is one way she takes time for herself. “I don’t have the luxury of a holy hour or daily Mass, but I can offer little things,” she said. “Self-care has been a huge part of the journey of femininity.” 

Abby Huntley, second-year student at Seat of Wisdom College and co-organizer of the vocations week, said that giving students a place to talk about vocations is “extremely valuable.”

“Vocation discernment is indeed a private topic for many, but giving those with questions and struggles a chance to hear from and question those who have already discerned is something that can help with clarity and peace,” she said.

(Sifert 21, is a third year student at Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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