Celebrating my 50th jubilee was an opportunity to review my life. One thing that stood out was how it didn’t go as I had planned. Yes, I always dreamed of being a teacher, but not a teaching Sister. Then I decided I would teach freshmen English at my high school, Notre Dame Academy, all my life. Two years later that school moved to Chardon. I never taught there, not even one day, not even as a substitute teacher! Then as I attended College preparing to be a high school English and math teacher, I was plucked out and sent to teach primary grades for three years.
When I was finally a high school teacher and head of the English department at Regina, I was sent to the University of Minnesota for a Master’s in math, which I was unprepared for, not having had undergraduate math courses. I changed to an English program, which culminated in a six-week experiment with my students. After receiving an Ohio grant to carry this out and being assigned the necessary class, I was asked to leave teaching to help finish writing a high school religion series. My six-week experiment was shortened to six days in a borrowed class for which I commuted! My teaching career ended after thirteen years and I become a writer. I never wanted to be a priest because I would have to give homilies, yet now I am a speaker.
Looking back at the way my plans were foiled, I realized that God’s designs were superior. They gave me joy and unexpected graces. You probably have had similar experiences.
God’s ways are not our ways. His are far better. Because God has our good at heart and we are the apple of his eye, we can trust that our life is unfolding for our benefit. I think of Our Lady. She had planned to marry the carpenter Joseph and live as any other Nazarene woman. Look what happened to her life! Of course, the results of Mary’s disrupted plans were marvelous, both for her and for the whole world.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini had her plans changed by Pope Leo XIII. She desired to establish missions in China, but the Pope told her, “Not the East but the West.” She came to the United States and worked with Italian immigrants. In 1946, she became the first American to be canonized. By the way, she is the Patron of Immigrants, someone whose prayers we sorely need nowadays.
When have your plans been changed? What positive things happened as a result?