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When a nun and a baby give discernment advice

Illustration - When a nun and a baby give advice

Nicoleta Ionescu | toyotoyo | Shutterstock | Altered by Aleteia

Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/29/23

At Benedictine College, Kansas, Sister Nunes is at hand to give advice to those considering a religious life -- with an unexpected helper.

Discerning to join religious life can be a long and difficult process. Luckily, for students at Benedictine College in Kansas, Sr. M. Karolyn Nunes — the U.S. vocations director of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George — was recently on hand to lend advice.

However, as she sat behind her booth that offered “Discernment Help: 5 cents” — a nod to an old Peanuts gag in the renowned comic strip that sees Charlie Brown’s nemesis Lucy Van Pelt giving out services behind her lemonade stand — the religious had a huge smile while holding a baby belonging to one of the college’s parents in her arms.

The image of the sister with the infant might have brought some confusion to students passing by. But as Sr. Nunes pointed out to the college’s media:

Most girls say ‘I want to be a mom.’ I say ‘Of course you do! That means you’re human. That’s your vocation as a woman.’ But then I tell them that being a sister and being a mother have a lot in common. Those vocations are more alike than they are different.”

And if you consider what Sister has to say, she’s not wrong!

Not only do both vocations involve a deep devotion to caring for others, they’re also roles that necessitate sharing the message of God in slightly different ways.

Priceless advice

Considering Sr. Nunes was only charging 5 cents per piece of advice, she didn’t exactly make a million dollars — 25 cents to be precise. Yet, she gave away lots of free advice to students in between their classes.

That in itself is priceless when you consider that Sr. Nunes’ congregation has helped numerous Benedictine students discern a religious vocation, which includes their very own U.S. superior, Mother M. Mediatrix Bexten.

Now Sr. Nunes is planning to continue her mission by visiting other groups in the Midwest, saying: “I have no agenda except to meet people. God is doing the most important work in these young people’s lives.”

However, as she continues to counsel youngsters, she might have to borrow another baby advisor, as her little helper is no doubt back in the arms of its mother.

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