Vocation Experiences During the Pandemic
Last November, I began my current ministry to serve as the Ohio Province Vocation Director. I had the privilege of serving for a year in 2006 in this role and on the U.S. Vocation Team from 2007-2011. Both of those experiences were life giving and challenging. A large part of my ministry involved traveling. Being a vocation director during this pandemic is very different. Until recently, almost all of my work has been on Zoom or on the phone.
I am so grateful for the support of my 20 colleagues who are members of the Greater Cincinnati Vocation Directors’ Group. We have met monthly during the school year and have planned some online events together, including an evening Come and See for women and men interested in religious life.
A great resource during this pandemic has been the National Religious Vocation Conference, which provides training and support for vocation directors.
The NRVC has divided the U.S. into regions, which meet a few times a year. I belong to Great Lakes/Ohio River region. Other Sisters of Notre Dame throughout the country are active in their regions. In February and March, NRVC hosted one hour Zoom gatherings entitled Talk It Up Tuesdays. Each program was led by a member, who shared some new approaches to vocation ministry. For example, some of the programs were: How to Use WhatsApp in Vocation Ministry and Planning Virtual Retreats. These free gatherings helped all to learn some new skills and to network with other vocation ministers. Hopefully, I will be able attend these beneficial Talk It Up Tuesdays again next winter. How blessed we vocation directors are to have such a helpful professional organization that has been able to adapt during this pandemic to answer our needs!
Sister Stephanie Thompson, SNDdeN
Ohio Province Vocation Director