After my sophomore year of college, I spent a profoundly graced summer serving at the SOLT summer camp in Belcourt, ND: it changed the trajectory of my life.
I spent every spring and summer break in Belcourt for the remainder of my college years. After graduation, I returned to serve in youth ministry before entering the convent. I loved my time as a volunteer, and I always encourage high school and college students to spend a year or more serving in mission, regardless of what they feel is their vocation, because I have seen and experienced what a time of growth it is.
Several lessons stand out when I consider how that time prepared me for my vocation. These were intellectual truths that I believed with my mind, but had to experience in order to know them in my heart. Grace is real. Jesus wants to work through me to impact the lives of others. I have something to give. I can do nothing without Him. I am not alone. He is always calling me deeper. He is always about his work in my heart and in my life, regardless of what is perceivable. These are truths that He continues to teach me as I seek to love Him and His people for the rest of my life.
Sr. Mary Joy of Our Father Bernklau, SOLT is originally from Oregon. She professed her final vows in 2017 and is currently serving in Benque Viejo, Belize.