Nancy Gucwa

Posted by 
Friday 04, January 2008 | Category:   Vocation and Discernment

About Me: I grew up in a big family, 6 kids—I was the second oldest. We all went to St. Patrick School, which is where we received the sacraments and first learned about our faith. Although I enjoyed the teachers and the sisters, it never occurred to me that I could aspire to be a religious sister.

Nancy Gucwa

While a senior in high school, I was considering becoming a lawyer, but the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) announced it would accept women. I was intrigued about its history of developing leaders of character. So I graduated with the first class of women, serving 5 years active duty after graduation. I then left active duty, and with an M.B.A. got a job at a large bank in downtown Manhattan, all the while staying in the Army reserves. I enjoyed this job, the fast pace of the city, and the world of finance. Five years later, I accepted a position in St. Louis with a different firm that offered more responsibilities and new challenges.

In St. Louis, the job became busier, often requiring late hours and weekends. I felt I had no time for the Army reserves, so I put that aside for a while. I had a full life, with working and dating and a weekly Bible study with a great group of people. The latter led to learning about various retreats in the area, and I would squeeze one or two weekend retreats in my busy schedule.

My Vision: Although outwardly successful, I still felt something important was missing. So when my company was purchased and my job was phased out I started working for myself in a financial seminar business, which afforded me a more flexible schedule. I had time for more prayer and reflection that really fed my soul.

In November of 2004 while on retreat at a hermitage in High Ridge, Missouri, I chatted with the priest there, telling him about myself and my career journey. At a break in the conversation, he shocked me with his invitation, “Have you ever considered a religious vocation?” It hit me like a bolt of lightening, and I knew I found what I was searching for. Yet, what kind of religious order? To help me narrow this down, I found a wonderful priest who helped me discern whether an active or contemplative order would be a better fit.

After visiting several orders, I visited and fell in love with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri, a contemplative order. We live a monastic life of work and prayer, following the rule of Saint Benedict. We make altar breads and also pray the Liturgy of the Hours several times a day. I have been here a year and a half now and feel extremely happy and blessed. I would encourage all women who have had careers, even in their 30’s and 40’s, to consider whether a religious vocation is right for them.

I Belong to: The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Clyde, Missouri

How would use your talents if you were a member of a religious community?

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