Mother Dolores Hart, OSB
Later Dolores met with Reverend Mother Benedict. She spoke of her walk and finding herself at the crest of the hill and standing still, not knowing why she was there. The founder of the monastery told her that years before, in 1947, when she and Mother Mary Aline came to Bethlehem with the mission to found a Benedictine order, they stood at that same place, holding medals they had carried from France. They buried those medals beneath the ground Dolores had stood upon and photographed.“
What is it that you want?” Reverend Mother asked me. I told her that was what I was trying to find out. I said, “I want my career. I want to get married. I want to have a home. I want most of all to do the will of God.” I think I hoped that she would not accept me but just say again that I should go back to Hollywood.
“I can’t tell you what the will of God is”, she said. “You must decide what you want to do, and in your deepest desire you will find the will of God. What is it that you want?”
Again I said, “I want my career. I want to marry. I want to please God and to serve Him with all my heart.” “You will find the will of God when you find what it is in your own heart that you know you must do”, she repeated. “Don’t look for God in some abstraction. The answer comes from within yourself, Dolores. What is it that you want?”
In his Rule, Saint Benedict cautions against granting newcomers to monastic life an easy entry. A pilgrim must knock on the door three times to be recognized.
When I got back to my room I began packing. I felt the decision had been made for me. God had not spoken. Reverend Mother had not invited me in. I was going home to pick up my life, and I was very relieved to have the whole thing off my back.
That evening I went to supper in the refectory. Mother Placid was serving. She smiled and said, “Well, Dolores, you won’t be able to chew gum when you come in.” I hadn’t realized I was chewing gum. We both laughed.
“But I’m not entering”, I told her.
“Oh,” she said surprised, “Reverend Mother said you were. She said it was clear that you had a monastic calling because you were fighting so hard. I’ll let her know she was mistaken.”
She turned to leave, and I suddenly stopped her, “No, don’t.”
That was it. My answer didn’t come in a lightning bolt. I simply knew at that moment what Reverend Mother was trying to tell me when she insisted that I say what I wanted to do. If I was honest about my answer, I would give God a point of departure He could work with. This is the exact opposite of the way many people think the spiritual life proceeds.
Prayer for Vocations
From the USCCB
O God, Father of all Mercies,
Provider of a bountiful Harvest,
send Your Graces upon those
You have called to gather the fruits of Your labor;
preserve and strengthen them in their lifelong service of you.
Open the hearts of Your children
that they may discern Your Holy Will;
inspire in them a love and desire to surrender themselves
to serving others in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ.
Teach all Your faithful to follow their respective paths in life
guided by Your Divine Word and Truth.
Through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
all the Angels, and Saints, humbly hear our prayers
and grant Your Church's needs, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Excerpted from “The Ear of the Heart” by Mother Dolores Hart, OSB and Richard DeNeut