"An Unquenchable Thirst" had attracted me so much even before I got it in hands because of my personal memories about thinking of joining the Missionaries of Charity myself back in 1998. After receiving the book it took me 5 days to read it - in spite of all the work at my job and with my family and kids at home. I just couldn't put it away until finding out what was the life I would have had if I had joined the sisters. I simply had to know.
I was just shocked to read how many personal trauma the vocation brings to the sisters. Being a student of English and German, I spent some time with them in Ljubljana, teaching them Slovene once a week for a year and spending a week in Zagreb to be a "come and see". The sisters I had met in Ježica (Ljubljana sisters house) seemed so fragile and tender like angels, always smiling, praying and being so nice. One Croatian, one Swedish and two Indian sisters, four sweet angels helping the poor in my country.
In Zagreb I noticed that sisters or candidates must have a special calling for prayer, always praying on their knees, obeying everything without a thought, working hard (in my case I worked in the kitchen) and forgetting about yourself - there were some alcoholics who were cursing and saying bad things to one sister and she just did not react, she served the man with evangelical love. There were also about 10-12 postulants from Italy and Germany, teenaged girls who seemed to be friends, like singing, praying and being happy together as Christ's future brides.
Myself, I was too logical and maybe stubborn, I did not like being commanded around, so I quickly found out that I would prefer to have a family and children and not become a sister. So I went home again after five days.
Mary has had a lot of courage to have spent 20 years in the congregation and found the courage to leave then. That must have been the hardest thing to do. Receiving the mail from Mother about disappointing Jesus, that was a huge psychological pressure. The reality of falling in love with a priest did not surprise me, what surprised me was that he practically almost promised to marry her but later did not. I guess he was too much of a coward to leave priesthood. Mary's honesty shocked me revealing her love for a fellow sister. This is a proof that every human being needs love and appreciation, not just psychological but also physical - that is sexual love. Churches seem to ignore this fact of Mother Nature.
The contrast of rich and poor is another issue in the book that touched me. The scene with the disabled man in the Vatican on those fancy seats that were usually meant just for the priests, cardinals etc... all the glamour and theatre about the church services... A lot of money spent on luxury, meanwhile the poor are not well looked after in MC homes because the money went somewhere else (the sisters work hard but do not have the means).
To say of the poor that they should suffer even more for Jesus, that that would make Jesus happy... That is what one would not expect from him.
Furthermore, uneducated sisters are more obedient. They more blindly believe what their superiors say is "the will of God". They accept the penance more willingly. That tradition belongs to the Middle Ages. When one believes in Jesus' redemption, one should have known that Jesus himself did it all and it is not necessary to inflict themselves any more additional pain. Good God would not like it if he really loves his creatures as Christianity teaches.
Mary, thank you for having written about your life as an MC so sincerely. The "pain" of the truth will set us free; it helped yourself face your reality and it is helping others to face the true face of "quenching His thirst". You helped me a lot. My respect once again. I hope more books like this will follow by others ex-sisters and priests.
I'm also very happy that you've found your luck and love in a man who loves you. All the best in life!
Irena Kokalj was born in 1968 in central Slovenia, in ex-Yugoslavia. she writes:
At the age of 18 I started searching for answers and thought becoming a nun could be a way to do something beautiful for God. Later, I changed my mind and became a teacher of English and German.
I got married. My husband is very skillful so we built a big house because we wanted to have a big family. We've got 6 live children; in between there were some miscarriages and a still birth baby boy. They are my little angels. If there is a place like heaven, I hope I'll meet them there as soon as I get there.
As a family we try to live a simple life, with own house and garden, finding our happiness in each other, in friends, music and sharing our love and pain with people we meet.