love myself. This has probably beenthe greatest shift of my life and asurprising challenge to my celibacy.
Suddenly, the whole world was filledwith emotion. I never knew that Icould love so much. My feelingswere new and raw. My love for Godmeant more than it ever had before.
The change was so strong that I began to ask myself if I truly wanted tobe a sister, to be a lifelong celibate.
As I began to love myself more
deeply I could feel my love for Christ
coming alive, but I also began to
mourn the possibility of having my
own family. Real waves of sadness
washed over me. The loss felt very
tangible. Loneliness stirred in my
bones. Had depression hidden from
me the gravity of the choice that
was mine to make? I had to choose
celibacy all over again. I had to reach
deep into the bottom of my soul and
see what is really most important for
me. Through prayer, and especially
in my precious hours of adoration,
my intimacy with Christ is not ab-
stract or theoretical, but instead very
concrete and practical. I feel Christ
holding and guiding me, keeping me
safe. My belonging to Christ is very
real to me and sustains me on my
Why am I celibate today, as I am,with my whole and beautiful self?
To answer this question, I look at
the wisdom of those who have gone
before me. I opened a journal I kept
when I was first discerning whether
the vows of religious life were right
for me. I found some quotes I had
recorded that help express my own
sense of this vow.
Many if not most persons whoare drawn to a celibate life arenot celibate because they madea vow of celibacy. Rather, theyare drawn to vow celibacybecause of a strong internalsense of prior claim. Theysense that celibacy is a given oftheir being . . . The reason forcelibacy may always remaindifficult to explain . . . But forthem, the claim of God ontheir lives is such that to givetheir whole embodied selvesin sexual union with anotherperson would be a denial oftheir own inner authenticityand integrity.
—Sister Elaine Prevallet, S.L.
I feel a prior claim. Though it isnot always easy, and I sometimes
LIVING the vow ofcelibacy happens dayby day. It isn’t alwayssimple or easy, butit’s the right way oflife for Hennessey.
For me celibacy isabout relationship: myrelationship with Christand consequentlythe shaping of myrelationship witheveryone else in my life.“