You would think that I would have been influenced primarily by feminist women, wouldn't you? And, to a large extent, I have been.
But in my spiritual life, and in this inexorable pull toward ministry . . . well, read this.
I "failed spiritual direction" a couple of times; the relationships just didn't click.
Eventually I bumped into the person who would make it stick -- a then-75-year-old Jesuit. My current director is a Jesuit my own age. Once a year on retreat and occasionally via email I hang out with another Jesuit, a psychologist in his early 70s.
How could I have spent so much time with men trained so extensively and diversely and not grown into a passion for ministry in some form? I'd hazard a guess that anyone who finds friendship with people like the Jesuits is drawn intensely into whatever his or her life's calling might be.
In a (small) way, I came to ministry with something similar: lots of disparate experiences, as a wife and mother; a lawyer -- corporate, nonprofit, and family; a teacher -- middle school through college. What I didn't have was the intense formational approach to all of those from which Jesuits benefit for the 11 or so years from entrance into the Society to final vows.
I like to think that a bit of it has rubbed off.
I'm grateful that I was immersed in it when my son died while I was in seminary,
But I gotta tell you, God works in extremely mysterious ways. What were the chances of my having ever even encountered these guys from a distance? I would venture approximately .0000000001%.
Guess that's all it takes.