Help Alissa Become a Catholic Sister

$33,505 of $32,000 goal

Raised by 76 people in 20 months
Dear Friends and Family, 

Hello! I have great news, and the joy I have at finally sharing this news is unending!

Three years ago, God called me to be a nun. He revealed to me that this was His desire for my life, and as I said “YES” to Him, I found that it was my greatest joy and desire as well.

I could not be happier to share with you that I have been officially invited to start my formation to be a Catholic sister with the community Seeds of the Word!

The story of how God called me to Himself and lead me to where I am now is one of immense grace. I am grateful to joyfully share this good news and say, “my steps have been made firm in the Lord!” (Ps 37: 23)

The Seeds of the Word community was founded in Brazil, thirteen years ago. They are a community of married couples, families, single people, religious sisters and brothers, and priests – all called to live their lives in service to the mission: sowing the seeds of God’s Word pro mundi vita! (“For the life of the world!”). Their greatest charism (gift) is teaching and formation in the Word of God, missionary work and prayer. Three years ago, Bishop Henry invited them to bring their life of prayer and mission to Calgary, and it was then that I met them.

Since meeting the community, I have frequently made trips to Calgary to spend time with them, and in the summer of 2015 I spent three months living, praying, and working alongside them in Brazil. My vocation story shared below explains how this experience shaped me, how God led me to Calgary this past September, and how I have been living with the sisters and working as a Registered Nurse since then.

The sisters I live with make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In Canada, they live a life of prayer, organize retreats, run bible groups, and help parishes in countless ways, such as through sacramental preparation, youth groups, and liturgical formation. In Brazil, their life of prayer extends to include perpetual adoration, and while organizing retreats is still a large part of their ministry, they also minister to the poorest of the poor, visit hospitals and prisons, offer spiritual direction, and take care of foster children who cannot find placements with families. In Portugal and Brazil, they run a “Sabbatical Year” (similar to a year of bible school) for anyone who wishes to spend nine months being formed in God’s Word and in prayer. The Sabbatical Year is also the first year of formation for becoming a sister with this community.

The community has officially invited me to start my Sabbatical Year on July 22nd, 2018, at their home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Going to Brazil is necessary because they don’t have this formation year in Canada (or in English). I will need to spend some time learning and practicing Portuguese prior to July, and so they have also invited me to arrive two months early, and to leave for Brazil in May, 2018.

Unfortunately, there is currently one road block that will prevent me from starting the Sabbatical Year. That is, I have $32,000 in student loans from my four-year nursing degree. As I cannot work during the Sabbatical Year, and will not have a paid job as a sister, resolving this debt is necessary before I can enter formation. I know that God is aware of this, and so I have complete trust that He will provide what I need so I can follow Him. I have been working hard as a Registered Nurse to reduce my debt, and have been sacrificing what I can to ensure my expenses are minimal. Some months ago, He nudged me to “ask His Church for help”, and so I am now humbly asking that you would consider helping me.

First and foremost, I ask that you would please support me through your prayers – without them I cannot follow Christ as effectively, and would definitely not be where I am today.

Secondly, I ask that you would consider helping me financially. Without the generosity of others, I cannot follow Christ’s call to begin my formation in July. Any amount of help is appreciated! Another way of helping is simply sharing my story or this link with others.

Whether you can help or not, THANK YOU. Thank you so much for the support, love and prayers. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Be assured of my prayers for you – both now, and forever!

For those who wish to read about why on earth I would ever want to be a nun, I have also included my full vocation story below. It is a testimony of God's grace and the immense love He has for us. It is also proof that when we seek to follow Christ, we discover that the plans He has for us are beautiful, incredible, and beyond our wildest dreams!

With love – your fellow disciple of Christ,

Alissa Going.

For more information about the community “Seeds of the Word” and their mission in Calgary, visit https://www.seedsoftheword.com

• My Vocation Story •

It all began on the last Sunday of January, 2014. At least, that was when God revealed my vocation to me in a big way. In so many ways, my vocation story started long before then. I grew up with the truths of the Catholic faith and of Christ’s love instilled in me as a young child, surrounded by the amazing community of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Vauxhall, Alberta. It was in this rich soil that God sowed the first seeds of my understanding of Him.

In January of 2014 I was eighteen years old, and had moved away from home just five months previously to begin my post-secondary education in Lethbridge, Alberta. Although I had a set path ahead of me (mainly, the four-year nursing degree I was undertaking), I often wondered at God’s plans for me. I attended Mass each Sunday on my own, and as I was surrounded by people I did not know, I found myself more focused on Christ in a new way. Every Sunday at Mass, there is a moment where the priest consecrates the bread and wine and it becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. Immediately following this, the priest elevates Jesus in the Host for all to see. During this moment, I would pray each week: “Lord, Your will be done. Show me what to do, and I will do it.”

One Sunday morning in January 2014, it was precisely after praying these words that God’s voice filled my heart, mind and soul. He replied, “Alissa, I want you to be a nun.”

I immediately started crying, mostly because His words surprised and shocked me. I had no doubt that it was He who had spoken, nor did I doubt the truth of His words. Yet, I doubted how literally He meant them. A nun!? How could God want me to be a nun? There’s no way. He must have meant something else by it. When I prayed “Your will be done,” I had never imagined that He would call me outside of the context of what I already had planned – that is, marriage and children. As I continued to pray about it, I decided He must have been asking me to be a nun “at heart,” until marriage. I didn’t have total peace about it, but refused to consider the alternative. I resolved to love Him more fiercely, and left it at that.

The following Sunday (February 2nd 2014), I prayed that same prayer as Jesus was elevated in the Host. For the second time in my life, I heard God speak. He said, “No, Alissa, I want you to be a nun.” Once again I burst into tears, but this time His grace allowed me to surrender. I gave Him my “YES.”

The months that followed were a whirlwind of falling deeper in love with Jesus and seeking to follow Him. My prayer life grew, and I began visiting and meeting with different religious orders and communities in Calgary. Until then, the only religious order I knew of off the top of my head was Saint Teresa’s “Missionaries of Charity” in Calcutta, India. As I sought to find where Jesus wanted me, I quickly learned that there are many, and that each order has its own “charism” or gift. For some this was care of the sick and elderly, like the Sisters of Providence. Others the charism of education, like the Faithful Companions of Jesus. Yet with each order or community I met, I wasn’t convinced that it was the order or community where God wanted me. I knew He would make it clear where I was supposed to go, so I waited and prayed.

Throughout this time in my life, God in His great grace showered me with countless confirmations that I was following Him. To include all of them here would take too much time, so I will share just some. As I grappled with how big of a life decision becoming a sister was, I struggled frequently with wanting to ask God for a sign, but worried that to do so would be “testing” Him (Luke 4:12). As I was praying about this one evening I opened my bible, and the page fell to Judges 6:36-40. As I read the story of Gideon – who also struggled with wanting a sign from God – I felt that Jesus was giving me permission to ask. And so, I asked for purple roses (which was the first thing that came to mind). Months went by and I didn’t receive purple roses, nor did I meet a community whom I felt I was supposed to serve Him with. All the same, His peace and joy accompanied me everywhere, and so my trust in Him continued to increase.

In October of 2014, I finally met the community God had been preparing my heart to meet; the Seeds of the Word! They were a community that I didn’t know existed until we met face to face. Our meeting was unexpected, blessed with divine grace, and took place only a week after they had arrived in Canada. On the day we met, God once again showered me with confirmations, letting me know that if I were to discern being a sister with this community, I would once again be following Him. I began visiting them as often as I could, often going to great lengths to free myself up for a weekend so that I could make the trip to Calgary from Lethbridge.

February 2nd, 2015 rolled around, and with joy and awe I saw it as my “one year anniversary” of saying, “YES” to the Lord. I committed to spending some extra time with Jesus that day, and decided to go to St. Martha’s Retreat Centre in Lethbridge to pray.

When I opened the door to the retreat centre, I couldn’t believe my eyes! On a small table just inside the door, was a bouquet of purple roses. In response, I could only praise Him, and say with the psalmists,“I delight to do your will, O my God”! (Ps 40:8) His consolations are such a gift!

Later that year, I was invited to spend three months with the sisters in Brazil, serving and living alongside their missionary community. It was an invitation I gratefully accepted, and so in May 2015 I boarded a plane with my slowly-growing Portuguese vocabulary but rapidly-growing trust in God. As I participated in the community’s daily life of prayer and missions, and said “YES” each day to the work that God gave me, I ended up serving Him in ways I never expected when leaving Canada. As I struggled to communicate, and laughed and cried at the frustrations and joys of adjusting to a new language and culture, I found that doing God’s will wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. As I learned more about what it meant to be a Bride of Christ, my heart leapt for joy! Indescribable peace filled my soul. As I served Jesus through serving others; as I forgot myself and looked instead to the needs of those around me; as I abandoned material wealth and comfort and sought instead the treasures of Christ’s kingdom – I saw that there was only one way to really, truly live: for Christ.

As I flew back to Canada that July, I didn’t know what else God had planned for me, but I knew that I wanted to give my life to Him as a nun, and also knew I could trust Him with the timing. I was already enrolled in my third year of nursing for that fall, and so I decided to continue my education, and to continue visiting the sisters in Calgary when time allowed. At the same time, I felt a sense of urgency to finish my education so that I would be free to follow Christ wherever He might call me – and so I also “fast-tracked”, took courses through the summer and graduated four months early.

In September of 2016, I was preparing to complete my final nursing practicum at Foothills hospital in Calgary. As God would have it, less than two weeks before I moved, the Seeds of the Word moved into a new house less than ten minutes from the hospital! They invited me to live with them as I finished my nursing degree, and now, I live with them as I work as a Registered Nurse. I believed I would continue to do so for many years, until my student loans were paid off and I would be free to enter the community. But God had other plans. He began filling me with a constant longing to begin my formation with the Seeds of the Word, and also filled me with certainty that working for multiple years was not His will. This certainty was so unwavering that I actually began praying about fundraising long before I knew when starting the Sabbatical Year would be possible. After months of praying, I received the joyful news: I would be starting my formation in July 2018! To see how God had been moving; to realize how He had been preparing me; it was simply incredible!

I could go on and on about God’s goodness: about how He saved this sinner and put life within me, about how He hasn’t given up on me – even when I’ve been faithless and fearful and downright stubborn. Despite my shortcomings, my many failings, and the many more that are sure to come, God still asks me to follow Him. This is true for you, too. He says He wants us, mess and all, and that He has a plan. That He will provide. So may this “vocation story” be not so much a story about me, but a story about God. After all, it is entirely written by Him – I am simply blessed to watch it unfold! ♡
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Dear Friends and Family,

How can I put into words what God has done? My heart is singing constant praises to God, and it is with trembling awe that I write this letter to you all. He has opened wide the doors; He has set a path before my feet. His goodness is truly unsearchable, and the joyous exclamation within my heart is without ceasing. O God, how Great Thou Art!

With overflowing joy and wonder beyond words, today on January 28th, I have officially become debt-free. It would not have been possible without you, and to say that I am overcome with gratitude is an understatement. For your prayers; for your financial support; for the love you have shown me, THANK YOU.

Five months ago, I shared my story - that God has asked me to be a nun and that with great joy I have given Him my “YES”, but that $32,000 in student loans stood between me and my ability to begin religious formation. Since September, I have watched this loan amount diminish, through extremely generous hearts, through people I know and love dearly and through people I’ve never even met. I could not have imagined or foreseen how the entire Church would come together so quickly, or how help would dive in from so many unexpected places and bless me so fully. God truly opened the floodgates of heaven and is pouring out so much blessing that there is “not room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:10); it has overflowed! As extra donations have been given to me, everything “above” the $32,000 is being gifted to the Seeds of the Word community, to support their life, work and mission in Calgary and around the world. In awe and overwhelmed, all I can do in return is pray for each one of you fervently, to ask God’s blessings upon you, and to turn my eyes to God and praise Him continuously. For all that God has done and continues to do, please join me in giving Him endless praise!

Thank you also to those of you who have shared this GoFundMe page and who have spread the word of a vocation in need of help; you helped make this possible.

“Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to Him be glory”! - Ephesians 3:20-21

I expectantly look forward to May 2018, when I will fly to Brazil to begin the “Sabbatical Year”, the first year of my formation with the Seeds of the Word community. If you wish to read about my journey going forward, please visit www.followjesustodayblog.wordpress.com. I will use this blog to keep you all updated in the months and years to come.

With Our Lord and under the protective mantle of Our Lady, I continue to walk this story of grace. I wonder at how kindly and gently Jesus is leading me, and move forward with infinite trust in Him. Thank you for your prayers for me, and know that I also continue to pray for you. You have had a transformational effect on my life - and I pray countless other lives as well, as I now run forward to share the Gospel together with the community He has called me to.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It cannot be said enough.

With love - your fellow disciple of Christ,

Alissa Going
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$33,505 of $32,000 goal

Raised by 76 people in 20 months
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