Sophie Boffa (Holy Name Parish, Wahroonga) shares her vocation story.
Sophie Boffa of Wahroonga joined the life of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 2015. Sophie was feeling excited and a little nervous as the day approached, but confident that this was the right place for her to be. “I have been discerning religious life for almost three years now. It's been an incredible journey, filled with much grace, peace, and joy, and every moment of my journey - even the less tranquil or joyous ones - has been a blessing,” Sophie says.
“Ultimately, I think what has brought me to where I am now is learning to surrender myself to God's will, because in His will there is found great peace and fullness of life.” Sophie has always been involved in parish life and in particular youth ministry within the Diocese, but it wasn’t until she began studying at Notre Dame’s Broadway campus that she started actively discovering her faith and learning what it meant to be Catholic. As her faith continues to grow Sophie says she is more able to recognise where God is and has been leading and calling her. It was through the Rosary that this special journey of discernment began for Sophie.
“As a child and teenager I didn't really pray much outside of Mass, but as I've grown in faith and have sought to follow God, I've recognised more deeply the incredible beauty and power of prayer, in all its forms. It is such a wonderful way of connecting with God.”
“Prayer has become so important to me.” With a strong network of family and friends, exploring this new path has been a positive experience.
“My family and friends have always been so supportive and encouraging - visiting convents with me, being ready to listen, and praying for me. It really is a great blessing to have their support and love.” Perhaps it is that deep connection to family and community that drew Sophie to the charism of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
“Their charism focuses on extending the Kingdom of God's love among themselves and others, “ says Sophie.
“They do this by living in the spirit of the Holy Family, whose lives were centred on the love of God and of one another, and by particular ministry to the family. At the time, I had a growing devotion to the Holy Family, was beginning to really sense God's love for me, and could see the importance of ministering to families and protecting family life.”
Living with seven Sisters out at Marayong, Sophie’s early days with the Sisters will be fairly relaxed - participating in the Sisters' prayer and community life, and with time still to study and see family and friends. Everyone’s journey is different and everyone’s vocation in life is different. For those who may be beginning to explore living their faith through a religious vocation, Sophie has some thoughts for reflection:
“I'd suggest three things:
- Pray! Through prayer, we have such a great opportunity to develop our relationship with God, and it can be done in so many ways - during Mass, before the Blessed Sacrament, while walking, through imagination or while listening to music, or even while working. There truly are no limits to where or how we can pray. What particularly helped me was praying simply for God to be with me and to show me the way in time.
- Don't be afraid to talk to someone. Religious vocations aren't often discussed these days, and so they can be difficult to talk about. But if you have someone in your life you trust - a family member, a friend, a priest, whoever - perhaps consider talking with them. It helps to open up, and they may be able to give you some advice or offer prayer for you.
- Strive to see God, who loves you unconditionally and unrepeatedly, in all things. Discernment is very difficult at times. While there are wonderful moments of joy, there can also be very real desolation and moments of doubt. But I truly do believe each moment of that journey, and each moment of life, is a wonderful gift of grace from the God who never stops loving us, who desires a relationship with us, and who reveals Himself to us in each and every moment.”