“When I was appointed to a be a member of our vocation team, I told the superiors, ‘Don’t expect me to do any Come-and-Sees. The young people today are into prayer and we’re going to center on prayer.’”
This was the guiding principle for Sr. Lucille Flores, a Sister of the Sorrowful Mother, when she thought of having a special prayer service on May 7 in honor of the 54th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
The service, held at St. Eugene’s Church in Fox Point, included exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the rosary, hymns, and vocation stories from another member of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and a Salvatorian brother. This service brought together nearly 40 men and women religious and lay people from throughout Milwaukee. Of particular importance to Sr. Lucille was a procession from the church to an outdoor shrine on the parish grounds, a form of active prayer that hearkened back to religious processions she experienced as a girl in New Mexico. “We’re big into processions. We used to have these processions when we would ‘Sacar a los Santos — Take out the Saints.’ And when there was a need —like for rain — we would carry an image of our favorite saint and we would go out in procession in the wee hours of the morning.”
Sr. Lucille, who marks her 60th anniversary in religious life this year, invited friends and guests to bring their favorite image of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the procession, as a sign of trust in Mary’s presence and prayers as those present prayed for all those discerning the call to serve God and the Church as priests, deacons, and as religious brother and sisters.
Vocation promotion is something that has formed an important part of Sr. Lucille’s ministry. A former teacher and principal in Milwaukee and Eau Claire, she later worked for the archdiocese’s Office of Education before serving her own community as vocation director. This change in focus led her to serve as associate director of archdiocese’s Office for Vocations and as member of the Formation Team at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. Today, she is also involved in liturgical ministries at St. Eugene’s Church.
To those discerning priesthood and religious life, Sr. Lucille’s advice is very simple: “Pray, pray, pray! And not only vocal prayers, but take time to be quiet and listen to the Lord. Ask yourself, ‘What is the Lord saying to me?’” In addition to encouraging discerners to talk to those already living religious life, she wants them to also ask themselves three important questions: “Where can I be happy? Where can I use my giftedness? Where can I be the best that I can be?” She believes that we can find the key to our particular vocations in the answer to those questions.
Noting the challenges facing discerners, Sr. Lucille also offered advice for all the faithful: “Pray that those who are being called answer. And when you see someone whom you think would be a good sister, brother, or priest, ask them. Even if the person thinks you’re nuts,” joked Sr. Lucille, “the idea is still there and we never know how that might touch their heart … Pray and encourage!”