Her name is Colleen.  She’s a good friend of mine.  She befriended me in 1999 when I was a new young adult minister and director of young adult ministry at the Arch. of SF.  She was the director of the same (and more) ministry in Charlotte.  She was funny, generous, honest, kind, faithful.  Did I mention she was generous?  She "adopted" me and invited me to some of the national meetings at which connections in ministry are made and where gifts are shared and supported.  She introducted me to a very tasty beverage and the true hospitality that only open hearts and minds can offer. 

She’s arriving tonight in San Francisco to continue to meet my congregation of Dominican Sisters.  She’s discerning a vocation to religious life and to our community in particular.  She suddenly discovered the attraction to it last May when she was visiting for a much needed vacation and stumbled (!) into our vocation retreat in Santa Cruz.  One of the other participants asked her, innocently, if she’d enter our community if she didn’t have some of the family comittments she was mentioning.  Without her own volition, her voice stated "yes" emphatically.  And no one was as surprised as she was.  And you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather! 

Over the past ten months she’s talked with her spiritual companions, her family, her friends, her God, our vocation minister and many others in her life and prayed and discerned and this week she embarks on the first steps toward application.  And I am picking her up at the airport.  Because we are friends we are looking forward to a couple of days of "hanging" together before she embarks on visits, interviews and a variety of meals with my sisters. 

I’m excited, nervous and deeply grateful.  And I’m bemused.  Seven years after we accidentally met, we may purposefully join our lives in a mutual, vowed, community.  We may get a new sister and she may get 130.  Oh, my.  God be with us and with Colleen and let your will be revealed.