We publish here the vocation story of Sr. Annie Devlin, Missionary Sister of St. Charles, who made her final vows April 9th.

I grew up as the youngest of six children on Long Island, New York. In my parents I always had a clear witness of faithfulness to truth, justice and the good that came from their Christian faith.

When I got to college, though, the figure of Christ was something I still basically just took for granted. During those years, I began to take notice of him, even to seek him out, albeit in a guarded way. Then something in me was finally shaken when my sister, who had met a group of Franciscans, from this encounter was so profoundly changed as to decide to enter religious life at 24. I remember with perfect clarity the stunning realization, one evening: “Either Christ is everything, or he’s nothing at all.”

After college I moved to California to work and to dedicate myself to competitive running, my great passion. My sister’s vocation had planted the seed of a question in me, and every so often I began to stop into a Church where they had perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Over time, my question changed. If at the beginning I had asked myself “Who is this Jesus for my sister, who’s willing to offer everything to have him?”, I slowly began to ask, instead, “Who are you?” and even “And who am I, to you?” And in the silence of that Church, it began to become very clear to me: “You are everything, and I am yours.”

From this powerful encounter, all my criteria began to change. I accepted an invitation to join a group of young people who dedicated a year of their lives to evangelization and there I began to experience friendship in Christ. I took a job in a parish that allowed me to share my discovery of Christ with many other young people. I read everything I could get my hands on, and I was particularly struck by John Paul II’s writings. At this point I decided that I wanted to go as deeply as I could into his vision of the human person, and I enrolled in the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C.

It was there that I met the Fraternity of St. Charles and the Movement of CL. I was struck by the radicality of their relationship with Christ, which they lived with great freedom in their friendship together, and by the seriousness with which, together, they looked at everything. Following their life, my life began to find its own profound unity. The more I pressed into my studies in Theology and into my friendships in the Movement, two desires became more and more clear in me. The first was the desire for silence: that my own words could be more and more rooted in the word of Another. The second was to make myself available to God, if in some way this availability could comunicate to the world the beauty of Christ. When Fr. Antonio Lopez passed me a few pages that the Missionaries of St. Charles had written to describe who they were, for a second it seemed like time had stood still in its tracks. I remember thinking: “If this place really exists, then there’s a place for me in the world, after all!”

When I finished my studies in 2011, I entered the House of Formation in Rome, and now I serve the Missionaries as General Secretary. Here, I’m given to live an existence that is totally shared in a concrete communion that reaches, knows, loves and acccompanies every corner of my person. Here, Christ really is everything: He gives everything, asks everything, is hidden in everything, and is resplendent in everything.

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