Personal witness: mother of daughters with religious vocations reflects on obedience

How to make sense of ‘nun stuff’

By Suzy Luecke
Special to The Witness

Of the three vows our daughter Leann is preparing to take, poverty, chastity and obedience, obedience seems to be the hardest for most people to grasp.

“What would she like to do next? Where should she like to go? Wouldn’t she like to come back to the United States?” are common questions I field when talking about her upcoming next step of making temporary vows and receiving her white veil and new habit.

Why does much of society look at obedience as a negative instead of the gift that it is? We want to do what we want, when we want, where we want. It can be easy to forget that we are here to do God’s will when everything around us says, “If it feels good, do it, and do whatever makes you happy.”

Obedience in the religious life is being “obedient” to God and the superiors. For diocesan priests, it is the bishop. For those in religious orders, it is the superior general, mother superior or local superior. By no means does it imply that you don’t think any longer or make decisions. You don’t check your intelligence at the door when you enter the religious life.

It does mean surrendering your will to God’s will. It means you have abandoned your desires for his desires. God’s plan for us is always to draw us closer to him and into holiness. We are all called to follow God’s will, be it single, married, priest or vowed religious. God’s will is simply lived out differently depending on our vocations.

Is saying “yes” to God’s call to religious life a form of settling for something less than a career and family life? Is it running away from the demands of modern society to hide behind the habit? Is it a waste of talents and education? Is it doing what­ever makes you happy? No. It is being obedient to God’s will and placing it higher than our own desires.

The fruits of living from this place are abundant joy, the kind of joy that comes from our heavenly Father, who wants only the best for us.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God— what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

With God’s grace, I see obedience more clearly today than I did not all that long ago. Obedience is not just for those in religious life, but it is for all of us. “Do what­ever he tells you,” as Mary told the servers at the wedding feast in Cana, is meant for us too. It is my hope and prayer that you too will see it differently now.

Suzy Luecke, of St. Patrick Church, Cedar Falls, is the mother of Sisters Leann and Lynn Luecke, PES. Both daughters attended St. Patrick grade school and Columbus Catholic High School in Waterloo before attending and graduating from college in St. Paul, Minnesota. Brian and Suzy’s daughters are currently in Lima, Peru, in formation with the Pro Ecclesia Sancta religious order. Sister Leann is preparing to make temporary vows on June 8 in Lima.


(Left to right): Suzy, Sister Leann, Sister Lynn and Brian Luecke. Brian and Suzy’s two daughters felt a call to religious life and are currently part of a religious order in Lima, Peru. (Contributed photo)