Hey ya’ll I am Carly Arcella a brand squeaky new postulant with the Daughters of Saint Paul. I am super excited about being a contributing writer on this blog and share some of the insights and stories of the beginning steps of my walk with the Lord and the many adventures of postulancy. Believe you me, there have been quite a few already! –and its been only a few weeks since I first arrived in the vast middle land of the US, the locals call Missouri.
So maybe I am mourning the loss a bit of the tropical paradise I left, Lighthouse Point Florida ( 15min north of Ft.Laud) :) Where is the beach around here anyways? All for Jesus!—No… ONLY for Jesus! There are many wonderful people I have met here in MO. (pronounced: "Moe".) All of who, give a priceless reaction when I tell them where I am from. Which I’ve found is a crazy witness all by itself.
So how did a Florida native end up in the mid-west? Well, it didn’t happen over night. I just graduated in May from the University of Central Florida with a BA in Radio Television and minors in Film and Psych.
That first struggle respond with a generous yes to the Lord started in high school. In less than twenty-four hours after the day I turned sixteen, I found myself on my first retreat in front of Jesus in the Eucharist and hungry to know Him and share him with others.
In my prayer that night, I went from a desire to write a news story in the school newspaper about who I had encountered, to starting my own newspaper, to something I felt was much much bigger. As it turns out, there was another 16 year old that felt the same way Blessed James Alberione .
The next morning I was glowing. Jesus had totally captured my heart. He had asked me to be His and I couldn’t help but say Yes. That night the idea of being a sister was put on my heart. It was totally out of the middle of nowhere! Nonetheless, I very deeply desired to respond with full “Here I am Lord” to whatever He desired as day-to-day life set in. My prayer life grew—I started going to daily mass and adoration (both on accident--classic stories:). I discovered scripture in a new way and I just wanted to sit with Him in quiet any chance I had. I was trying to listen up; I knew I was preparing for something big.
I became editor-in-chief and lead photographer (only a crazy person would attempt both…) at Cardinal Gibbons HS and a teen writer for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel; I quit my varsity soccer team and took up drama. Jesus was challenging me to explore gifts I never knew I had. Soon, I started dreaming of taking Katie Couric’s place at the news desk of the Today Show and be super catholic.
This struggle between wanting to be a catholic gutting it out in cut throat the media world and wanting to be a sister (which was hopelessly on the other end of the spectrum) became super intensified. Right in the middle of all that, a priest mentioned to me the Daughters of Saint Paul. Ha! I thought, no way! Media and nun was not fitting together---and there is no way they made it work.(lol) But the thought of Saint Paul stuck. Paul was just the dude I knew I could go to. And I did...
...................................So how did I meet the Daughters of Saint Paul??........................................................
Less than a year later (2006) I ran into Daughters of Saint Paul; or more like they ran into me... and shook everything up:) They randomly swung by parish for an hour to see how our event “coffee nite” was going. (The sisters had recently started Coffee House in Miami and my parish hoped to start one farther north in the diocese because of the amount of people that were traveling pretty far to attend.) Anyways, I walked into the event that night, saw them, turned around. And walked right out. No seriously, I walked right into the bathroom without missing a beat and "had it out" with Jesus asking out loud, “Who is that!?.” I immediately was drawn to them, which was pretty scary... Thankfully, Jesus convinced me to leave the bathroom, and the courage to walk right over and meet them:) They left not too much later—and Jesus gave me this beautiful gift – to let them go. I wanted so bad to run after the car, but in that moment Jesus asked me-- to trust that this was a gift, that He wanted to give me. I didn't have to grab at it.
I graduated high school, moved four hours away, and started college at the University of Central Florida in Orlando...and I still was trusting! That night never left me. My freshman year of college I was invited to a "come and see" down in Miami. And I began to make the four hour trips to visit the Daughters of Saint Paul---each time I made that trip something grew in me ( 4years of college x 10-15visits a year x 4hrs there x 4hrs back...Jesus had lots to let take root in me). I fell in love with lectio divina, started to make sense out of my catholic media-ness, and brought everything to Him in the Eucharist.
It is such a huge blessing just to be here! Woah, reality check. (pause)...
--- Right, when I think I've ripped a good chunk of the paper off this gift --there is still sooo much more to unwrap! "May the Love of Christ Lead Us and Push us on!"