vocation stories | ELIZABETH
My name is Elizabeth Vishnefske
I was born in Wichita, Kansas on September 22, 1995. I graduated from the University of Kansas in 2018 with a degree in Social Work.
Growing up in the middle-of-nowhere Kansas, I was raised to enjoy the simple things in life. If I can either make art with it, hike it, or compete in it, there is a good chance I will enjoy it. I was always involved in a variety of hobbies; sports, acting, art, writing, and making blanket forts with my siblings. Things I never get tired of include looking at the sky, listening to piano music, and using my facial expressions, rather than words, to communicate.
I met the AVI sisters for the first time at a Sunday night student dinner at the catholic center at KU. I remember thinking they seemed very kind, but they were also in between me and the free food, so our conversation was brief. I got to know them better a year later when I began spiritual direction and got involved helping out with campus ministry retreats.
As I began to think about a plan for my life, studying social work seemed to make the most sense, not only because I was bad at math and science, but because the Lord had given me experience and an awareness that the world is filled with a lot of people who live without hope, and who are burdened with the weight of feeling worthless. I thought that through working with people in their moments of suffering, I could remind them of their beauty and help them find their place in the world.
During my senior year Social Work internship I was working with clients who were experiencing homelessness in Kansas City, and my role as their case manager was to help them find a job and place to live. Throughout this time, God was drawing me closer to Himself through daily mass and adoration, and I began to wake up every morning desiring to hear His voice through the gospels. As I was becoming more and more aware of the Lord’s presence in the rhythm and the hours of my day, I was able to see that through my internship, I was helping people on the surface, but what I saw when I gazed into their eyes, was that what they were really aching for was to be loved and cared for unconditionally , and no amount of financial stability was fulfilling that.
During my last semester at KU, I was praying in adoration during the evening, when the Lord encountered me in a way that would change my life forever. From then on, I didn’t have to wonder if God loved me, if He was who He said He was, if He had a plan for me, if He kept His promises, or if I was actually known. When He encountered me in prayer that night, all in my heart that was unconfirmed, was sealed. That was the start of my journey of freedom and a deep desire to share with others the love He had given me in that moment, and the love He had been pouring into me from the beginning. I was taught about God my whole life, I knew He had already conquered all sin, but now He was pursuing me to conquer my heart.
Through spiritual direction and spending more time with the AVI sisters, their mission started attracting me more and more, and I knew that the way they lived a life of full self-gift and joy was exactly the desire that God had put on my heart from the beginning: to be able to share with people the unconditional love they were aching for.
I began volunteering/discerning more intentionally with the AVI community the fall after graduation and I officially entered formation on January 21, 2019 at the house of formation in Lawrence, KS.
to be a witness of hope for others, so that all may know that no amount of darkness is dark for the Lord.
“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”