vocation stories | CATHERINE
My name is Catherine Porter
I was born… in Seattle, Washington on January 31, 1984.
I graduated…from the University of Washington with a degree in Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences and a degree in Spanish.
I heard about the Apostles for YEARS before finally meeting them. My friend Beth had known them in her college years at the University of Illinois, and was always talking about the beautiful Italian sisters. I finally got to meet them when they hosted a retreat in the Seattle area in February of 2014.
My first impression of the Apostles…I was immediately struck by their holiness and joy, as well as their humanity.
When I met the Apostles, I was already desiring a deeper prayer life. After hearing Sister Susan speak about holiness and daily meditation, I knew these sisters had what I’d been looking for. I began praying daily and meeting with one of the Apostles’ spiritual mentors, and what ensued was a beautifully rich time of spiritual growth for me.
Soon I felt a desire to get involved in ministry at my church, yet no ministry felt quite right. Jeanne, my spiritual mentor, suggested that I look into the Apostles’ program that trains spiritual mentors. After a time of discernment, I applied.
Meanwhile, my close friends had noticed that I was truly prioritizing my spiritual life, and a couple of them began saying that I’d become a nun. Most were joking, but one close friend was quite serious. This stunned me. I took it to prayer, asking, “Lord, why would you have someone who knows me so well say this to me?” The answer was immediate and undeniable; He was calling me.
This was far from the happiest moment of my life. I didn’t want to be a nun! I loved my life: I enjoyed backpacking on the weekends and spending time with family and friends, and I had my own place and a well-established career. To top it off, I really didn’t think I’d be GOOD at being a nun. It’s not that I doubted the call or doubted that the Lord knew best; I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. The journey that followed was less a journey of discernment, and more a journey of aligning my will with His.
I tried to remain open to the Lord, and six months after being called, I found myself going to daily mass, praying a daily meditation and also praying a daily holy hour. Only then was the smallest part of me beginning to recognize that my heart actually desired religious life. This was only the beginning of my journey!
By the grace of God, this was when the Apostles’ spiritual mentorship program began. I had an excuse to visit them in Kansas City as part of the program, and to experience a bit of what religious life is like. The program stretched over two years, and each time I got to visit Kansas City for the program, I noticed that not only were my will and desires aligning more and more with the Lord’s will, but the Apostles themselves were becoming more and more prominent in my journey.
In late summer of 2016, I quit my job, gave away my cat, put everything in storage, and left my hometown of Seattle to live closer to the Apostles and discern with them more seriously. By November, it was clear I needed to apply to the community. I began formation with the Apostles in January of 2017. I spent my first year of formation in the community’s house in Lawrence, KS, on the University of Kansas campus while attending pre-theology classes at Donnelly College in Kansas City. In January 2018 I was sent to Rome to continue formation.
“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance.” – St Augustine