Wertz speaks on discernment: Listen for your vocation

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photo by Ava Lalor

At 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, the Campus Ministry Core Team held another Holy Spirits and Biblical Brews. This bi-semester event invites one staff or faculty member to present about a certain topic pertaining to how they live out their faith in their lives.

This session’s speaker was Religious Studies and Theology Leadership Coordinator Annie Wertz. Originally from Keokuk, IA, Wertz went to graduate school at Loras. A few years later, she was recommended by religious studies and theology professors to apply for a position at Loras. Since then, she has helped with the Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program as well as the Daughters of Isabella women’s group.

The topic Wertz addressed was vocations and discernment. She began the presentation with a question.

“What great need in the world would you like to remedy or change?” Wertz asked. This is a question she has considered throughout her life, and how she has responded to it has changed with time. Wertz continued to ask the audience to think about what they were passionate about and what problems they would like to see change.

With this question in mind, Wertz began talking about vocations.

“All lay people have a responsibility to bring Christ to the world,” Wertz said. This responsibility is their vocation.

But how do people find that vocation? Wertz gave five clues to finding what vocation will make each individual happiest. First, discover what their strengths and talents are. Second, they need to notice in what activities others give them affirmation. Next, consider what work comes easily. Then, look at what activities bring excitement instead of draining energy during the work. Finally, consider what activities and type of work brings joy and happiness. These five aspects helped guide Wertz through many of her life decisions.

Wertz gave an example of how she uses the question of a worldly change to discern where God wanted her to use her strengths and talents. After she completed her undergraduate degree, Wertz worked as a dental hygienist for many years.

During this time, she served on mission trips through Habitat for Humanity with her husband who was a dentist. Eventually, they both realized that they could use their skills in dental health to help the less fortunate in these foreign countries. Wertz and her husband then went on a dental mission trip to Belize. There they were able to use their strengths and talents in a fulfilling way that helped others who would otherwise have gone uncared for in this medical field.

When talking about discernment of a vocation and general life choices, Wertz proposed a few questions.

“How can I be an instrument of God’s love for others?” asked Wertz.

There are many questions that one can ask during this time of discernment. These include asking oneself if a specific activity is of God or if it will instead pull one away from their purpose on earth.

“If you find yourself in a place where people (or the situation) aren’t feeding you or nourishing you, you might want to get out of that situation,” said Wertz.

To conclude her talk, Wertz connected discernment and God’s grace. Wertz described grace as a free gift from God that acts as a light that will illuminate a path. This requires time and investment. Ultimately, she believes that grace will lead everyone to their vocation if they only listen.

The next Holy Spirits and Biblical Brews is scheduled for Friday, April 15, featuring President Jim Collins as the speaker.

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