We had a fantastic session last night with Kelly our host who introduced us to numerary Angie, associate Candela, supernumerary Katja and our very own assistant numerary MARTA!!! It was a truly international affair as Angie was zooming from New York, Candela from London, Katja from Scotland and Marta from Thornycroft in Siddington. They were talking to more than 70 people on zoom who spanned a similar distance to the speakers.

Kelly asked the four panellists a series of commonly asked questions about each vocation and different members of the panel answered. Each of the ladies told us how they came to be a numerary, associate, supernumerary and assistant numerary and how although it is the same vocation, the circumstances varied. Candela made me laugh in particular when she was describing the associate vocation and said that an associate wasn’t someone who couldn’t make the grade as a numerary – she just had different circumstances, that was all. It was clear that when she realised she had a vocation that it was a specific one – that of an associate and not a numerary.

We heard how the ladies lived their plan of life each day and Katja pointed out how it had changed for her not only in terms of how she fitted it in around her growing children but also with the pandemic. Before when she commuted to work she would say the rosary and do the spiritual reading while travelling then stop off for Mass before work, but once the pandemic hit, that commute ended and she has had to find a different time to say her rosary, do the spiritual reading and attend Mass.

Marta described beautifully how her professional work was the work of the home and it was professional work because it required a certain skill set but also it was a work of love. She described some of the small details she would focus on to help people in Thornycroft feel not only taken care of materially but loved too. She said that she felt people really appreciated the love and care that she put into her work and she is right we all really lucky to receive that love and care when we go to Thornycroft.

Kelly asked the panellist about the help they received to live their vocations and Katja said that she felt she needed steering with it and that otherwise she would drift a bit. Candela emphasised that while there was great help to keep you on track with your vocation there was great freedom too. Again she made me laugh when she said that she could be given advice to try something but if she didn’t want to she could just say thanks but no and that was that! True but so funny when she said it!

One question Kelly asked was do you have to be a particular type of person to be in Opus Dei and Angie said that it should be obvious how different each one of them was on the panel. And it was. Each person following the same spirituality, but still unique people with their own personalities, likes and dislikes.

I think that’s what made it such an enjoyable event – four very different women whose different personalities shone through all living the same call to holiness in ordinary life. Such a great evening. I really hope they repeat the session so even more people can hear it.