Heelan alum begins postulancy with Dominicans

By JOANNE FOX
joannef@scdiocese.org

Bishop Heelan High School graduate Grace Beumler confessed trying “to run away” from the thought of a religious vocation.

“But Our Father is very patient and continued to gently draw out the desire that was in my heart,” she said. “I would say this past year, I’ve most actively discerned my vocation.”10-18Beumler 8-23

The vocation call encouraged Beumler to join the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, more commonly known as the Nashville Dominicans.

“One of the first things that attracted me to this community was the immense joy that I saw in all the sisters, a joy that comes from trusting completely in the Lord,” she said. “I also saw many sisters who were my age and had taken the leap of faith to give their lives totally to God.”

The Sioux City Sacred Heart parishioner thought “religious life isn’t something old or outdated.”

“One of the things I love about the Dominican charism, especially as it’s lived out in this community, is the dual emphasis on a contemplative and active life with Christ,” she said.

One of the mottos of the order is “To contemplate and to give others the fruits of our contemplation,” Beumler pointed out.

“These sisters spend time in quiet communion with Christ each day, which fuels them to preach the Gospel to their students and all those they encounter,” she said.

First vocation thoughts

Beumler estimated her first thoughts about a possible religious vocation surfaced during her studies at Bishop Heelan. The 2016 alum recalled “many moments of grace” over those years that have prompted an increase of trust in a call to the religious life.

“One moment I can remember when I was visiting the community on a retreat was during adoration. I had felt at peace during my visit so far, but I wondered if this could be a place where I could be truly happy – where I could use the gifts that God has given me,” she said. “Then, from the back of the chapel some of the sisters began to sing a beautiful renaissance motet, and my heart soared. I have always loved singing in choirs, and the beautiful singing, I think, was the Lord’s invitation to trust him completely with my whole self.”

Beumler credited her parents, John and Allison Beumler of North Sioux City, S.D., as “a source of great support” during this time of discernment.

“I’m also thankful to have had a community of Catholic young people while I was at school who supported and encouraged me through prayer and friendship,” she said. “God has been very faithful in this time, providing special graces to not only me, but also my family.”

Postulancy year

Beumler is currently a postulant with the order, living with the community, doing in-house formation on developing her prayer life and learning about the history and practices of religious life.

“Then next summer, I will receive the Dominican habit, a religious name, and enter into the canonical novitiate year, where I’ll study more deeply the religious vows and the constitution of the congregation,” she said. “After that I would make first profession of vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These vows last for three years and I would renew the vows for an additional two years. After a total of seven years of formation, then would I profess final vows.”

For those considering a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated religious life, Beumler suggested prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments.

“You cannot be aware of the movements of the Holy Spirit and where the Lord is calling you unless you develop a relationship with Him,” she said. “I found that once I made the commitment to schedule prayer and Mass into my day, I was much more open to receive all the wonderful graces the Lord was waiting to give.”

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