Please pray for Amber Czeiszperger as she will be entering the the community or the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Euchraist. This week I would like to share her story with you.
Hello! My name is Amber Czeiszperger and I am entering the community of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (DSMME) this August. I have been so blessed by God to receive the gift of a religious vocation. My vocation story is not one of great conversion, but of gradually hearing the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.
The seed of a religious vocation has been growing in my heart since my Baptism. I was interested in religious life in middle school at Sacred Heart. In seventh grade, although I was a year or two under the age requirement, I was able to go on a small diocesan Nun Run with other older women who were seriously discerning. I visited a few communities, including the one that I am entering now. At the time, I never could have thought that God would lead me back to this particular community.
As I began high school, I let religious life “sit on the back burner” because of all the career options I was being introduced to. Then, in the summer before my junior year, I attended a retreat that refocused my search for God’s Will in my life. After this retreat, I began to read and listen to talks about religious life. A friend of mine in the Upper Peninsula encouraged me and gave me resources as I sought for more knowledge. At the beginning of December that year, I had my first talk with Fr. Todd about my possible vocation. He gave me great encouragement and advice. He also recommended that I attend an upcoming vocational discernment retreat in April with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. It is amazing how everything happens in God’s perfect timing. To begin with, the retreat came after my all-school play, a large Key Club event, and an NHS trip to New York. I was exhausted and needed a time to slow down and have some silence. Secondly, by God’s grace, I was given the lead women’s role in our play. This boosted my self-confidence and my reliance on the Lord. It was a catalyst for a deeper relationship with Jesus and deeper relationships with those around me. I do not know if I would have had the courage to follow the Lord’s call without this opportunity.
The retreat was one of the most clarifying and peaceful experiences I have ever had. At the beginning of the retreat, we randomly chose Marian Litany titles and were told to ponder why we had received that specific title. I received “Mary, chosen Spouse of the Most Holy Trinity, pray for us.” As I reflected on what it could mean, I realized that God was asking me to, like Mary, be His Spouse. The best part of the retreat, though, was the all-night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In the silence of that night with Jesus, I was more peaceful and surer that God was calling me to be a religious Sister at that community than I ever was before. At the very end of the retreat, I was blessed to speak to Sr. Joseph Andrew, the vocations directress, about where I was at in my discernment.
During the next months, I dove into a deeper prayer life and attended Daily Mass and Adoration as much as I could. As I grew in knowledge of God and myself, my belief that I was being called to religious life (and possibly the DSMME) persisted, though I was still unsure when the right time was.
Then, in September of my senior year, I went on another Nun Run that our diocese put on. We visited several communities in Chicago. It was beautiful to see the different missions that each community had and all the women answering God’s call to be Brides of Christ. I had felt that God was calling me to the DSMME, but seeing all the other communities made me unsure. For a while I struggled with doubt and confusion. Part of the difficulty came from my Cross Country season. I was not running the times I wanted at the races and I was no longer at the head of my team. Looking back now, I am so thankful for how my season went. It made me realize that I could be a joyful leader without having to be the best. I discovered more deeply my passion for encouraging, even when I need encouragement. God was already preparing me for entering a community of Sisters. Although I did not get the times that I wanted, it was still the best year of Cross Country I have ever had. I was surrounded by a wonderful team that taught me how to receive love even when I felt unworthy of it.
Then, I attended the November vocational discernment retreat and again was filled with peace and joy: the joy that shone on the faces of all the Sisters that I saw. I realized that I longed so earnestly for that same joy. I talked to Sr. Joseph Andrew and she gave me application papers to enter the community! My best friend was there; she encouraged me, sharing in my joy. I was so filled with love, hope, and peace. After turning the papers in, I experienced all the joys and doubts of a person waiting for acceptance, uncertain that it was the right time. Then, in January, I was accepted for Pre-Postulancy in the summer.
This was a huge first step, but it did not yet mean that I would be entering in August. I then had to continue to prepare for the possibility of college if the Sisters judged that I needed a year away from my family before I would be ready to enter. Then in mid-March, school was cancelled, and we were given a Stay at Home order. Although I was sad about everything we were missing at school, I look back and see March, April, and May as blessings in disguise. I was not busy with school, sports, and events. I was able to focus so much more on my relationship with Jesus and grow immensely.
Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus, we were unable to attend a traditional Pre-Postulancy at the Motherhouse. Even so, God poured out His blessings on our group as we listened to Sr. Joseph Andrew through Zoom meetings. At our last meeting, Sr. Joseph Andrew announced the 2020-2021 Postulants, and I was accepted! Again, the Lord filled my heart with peace: peace in the knowledge that I was going to be where I could best come to know, love, and serve Him. I cannot wait for the adventure that God has planned for me with the Sisters!