Freshmen learn about Vocations at Re-Focus 9


Credit: Pia Roca/Achona Online

An Academy girl reflects on the new lessons learned at the Re-Focus 9, weighing the pros and cons of all alternative paths.

Experiencing Re-Focus 9 is a rite of passage for a Freshman at Academy. This past January 29, the Class of 2019 came together to enter a spiritual journey of faith. Dancing the afternoon away under the tunes of a local Christian musician, the spiritual mini retreat kicked off. The schedule consisted of live music, a religious guest speaker, and small group discussions with the senior retreat leaders.

For the first time, freshmen are given a glance at a religious lifestyle. The future may seem far away at the time, but Father Carl Melchiore, vocations director for the diocese of St. Petersburg,  asked the freshmen class to consider different alternatives.  Contrary to popular belief, many sisters are able to pursue a college degree and work in the fields they are most interested in while still serving.

“You get to pick your career, God gets to pick your vocation,” Father Carl Melchiore advised when thinking of the future.

Sister Suni, a sister from St. Anthony’s Parish, gave a compelling talk on her experience moving from India to Florida following her initiation. She explained that it was never easy to make such a life-altering decision, but if trust is placed in the Lord, God will put you in the right place. After her talk followed a fifteen minute video featuring the daily life of Salesian sisters working at a retirement community, among a plethora of possible careers a Sister can choose from.

Freshman Amanda Greenway stated, “It really inspired me to reach out in the Tampa community.”

God’s call comes in many forms, and Re-Focus 9 called students to open their hearts to hear His call, as every call is unique.

Freshman Rachel Porter enjoyed her short time at the mini retreat,” I thought it was fun because we got to sing and dance with the musician. After settling down, I really enjoyed Sister Suni’s message and the video that was shown to us following it.”

The Archdiocese of San Francisco gives a variety of tips on what to do if God’s call is felt:

  1. Go to Mass
  2. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  3. Daily Prayer
  4. Read the Gospels
  5. Talk to a Priest or Religious

The Academy Freshman class enjoyed the rest of the refreshing afternoon and left with a more open mind! For more information on vocations, contact the St. Petersburg Diocese Office of Vocations at 727-344-1611.