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My Vocation story.... part 1

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My name is Fionnuala O'Connor and I am from Dublin. I am the eldest in a family of three. I studied science at university and then worked for about 9 years in a chemistry laboratory. I am a keen soccer supporter and have travelled to many countries to watch football games!! I also like music, eating-out, travelling, hiking and hill-walking. I also did voluntary work for some years with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The first time I made contact with the Carmelite monastery at Kilmacud to find out more about this way of life was in November 2004. For several years I had felt myself searching for something more fulfilling in life, and my relationship with God was deepening. One day a friend of mine, who was a priest suggested the possiblity of a vocation. For the first time, I decided to consider it, but I had never thought of myself as a nun before, so I was very nervous when I posted my first letter. Nevertheless, I felt it was a positive step for me to find out more and see if maybe God wanted me to be a Carmelite. I trusted that He would let me know if it was the wrong direction for me. Some days later I received a reply to my letter from one of the nuns which filled me with happiness and peace of mind. It was a letter full of genuine respect, support, faith and joy, which encouraged me to keep contact. 

After a few letters I decided to come for my first visit. Again, I was very nervous, having not had many previous contacts with Carmelite nuns. My fears vanished very quickly once I arrived and received such a warm welcome. After that first visit, I came regularly to visit and also kept in contact by letter. Gradually I was getting to know more about the community and they were getting to know me. I decided that it would be helpful for me to come and try out the life, and so we arranged for my live-in after I returned from World Youth Day in Cologne. Here is a picture of me (centre with green t-shirt) during the time in Cologne with some friends of mine from different countries (France, Poland, Switzerland and Austria!):

Fionnuala at WYD Cologne

I returned from Cologne in August 2005 and I came to Kilmacud for one month from September to October. Read about my "live-in" in the next part of my story here:

My Vocation Story... part 2

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