Sr. Maria Paula Muraki
On July fifth in 2002, three months after my baptism at Saint Francis Xavier Church Tulsa, OK, I heard God calling me to become a Sister. It took me ten years to make final vows, to become a Benedictine Sister of Saint Joseph Monastery, which is a couple of blocks from where I was baptized.
When I heard God’s calling on July 5th 2003, I had a sense of wonder, the fear of the Lord. It was a mysterious feeling that I could not articulate. Since then I sometimes experience and acknowledge that gift. I anticipated a coming of the calling since a parish priest, deacon and parishioners had asked me if I wanted to become a sister. However, the question came to me before my baptism, so I could not pay attention. At the same time, that question sounded pleasing to me.
What attracted me to religious life was a sense of community. Like the Eucharist, there was a centeredness and a rhythm in monastic life. Sisters get together to pray and eat to receive and nurture love of Christ. In their ministry, Sisters share God’s love with community in both local and extended communities. They come to the table, receive the bread, and share their love. Christ always abides in the midst of our life; we spread the good news.
The most difficult thing I had to overcome was to make a decision to detach myself from my beloved family, inherited culture, and native language. I was born and raised in Japan for almost forty years. I communicated with my relatives and friends in Japanese. Our quality of life was gentle and tranquil, and my people respected harmony, sensitivity, and quietness as a beauty. We eat rice, fish and vegetables seasoned mildly so we can taste the flavor of each ingredient.
Since I received a religious name, Maria Paula, as a Novice, I have been a sister for nine years. Despite a pain of losing my familiar way of life, I am still on my journey. The secret is my love of God for God loves me first. The way God loves me is still new to me as a convert Catholic. Grasping the mystery of the Trinity is impossible, but experiencing it and dwelling in it is possible if you trust and hope in God. The Holy Spirit is always at my side kindly and patiently. His Wisdom guides me gently to the right path since my baptism and the light of Christ became an arm at my final profession on November 21st 2012. God unfolds the mystery of His love every day.