Brittany

My name is Brittany Brown 

I was born in Beaumont, Texas on the 15th of May 1989.

I graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Psychology.

Well there’s plenty of things that are funny about me. If there’s one thing you need to know about me it’s that I love to laugh, often and loud. I feel most myself when I’m around people who I can laugh with and who I know love me for me. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and getting to know new people. I’m absolutely fascinated by all of creation and in particular by people.

Vocation Story:

I started thinking about consecrated life when I was in high school. I went on a youth conference sponsored by the Franciscan University of Steubenville during the summer of 2004 (after finishing my first year of high school). This conference awoke a searching and desiring in my heart to know and love God in a more real and deeper way. I came into contact with God’s overwhelming and very real mercy during that weekend. One of the chaperons on the retreat mentioned that I would make a great nun. At that time I understood nuns to be old and unhappy, and I didn’t want to give up boys for the rest of my life so I quickly brushed that thought away. Later that year I heard a homily about St. Francis of Assisi who radically loved God and also talked to animals. And at that time I aspired to become a veterinarian and had a passion for animals, so when I heard about St. Francis I immediately fell in love with him and his life. As I was reading things about his life on the internet, I felt strongly inspired to do what he did, radically and unconditionally follow God and give everything to Him. And the idea of religious life kept creeping back into my thoughts and into my prayer. I figured that if St. Francis could give up everything while he was young and be as happy as he was, then I could at least give it a try. So I talked to my older sister to see if I was going crazy or if religious life was something that people still did. She was extremely supportive and thought that it would be awesome if I became a sister. “Great!” I thought to myself, “I’m not going crazy.” And that was it for the next few years. I continued to be very involved in our youth group and continued to grow in prayer and go on retreats and learn about the teachings of the Church. And this was all good and beautiful until my senior year of high school (2006-2007). In December of 2006 I began to date a guy named David who both went to my school and worked at the same place I did. We dated for 8 months and during that time, I realized that God was definitely calling me away from that relationship into something more, a something more that only He can satiate. After graduation David and I had decided to go to separate universities so we ended up breaking up and saying our goodbyes. This was very helpful for me because I found myself more available and interiorly free for God to speak to my heart. I went to Texas A&M University and immediately got plugged in to the Catholic student center, St. Mary’s. During my first semester at A&M, the desires for religious life and giving myself totally to God reemerged and not only that, but they were stronger and unavoidable. My first year helped me to realize these desires and also grow in a stronger sacramental life. Now that I was in college I had the time and opportunity to go to daily mass and learn from other students how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and have a more regular monthly confession. I was also very involved in helping give high school retreats and a Theology of the Body book study. During the end of my first year I was looking into many different religious communities and reading many things online about discernment. Something that I continually came across on these “How to Discern” pages was having a Spiritual Director, a spiritual guide to walk along the path of holiness and discernment with you. And at the beginning of my sophomore year of college 2008, in walks the Apostles of the Interior Life to help the students at A&M as spiritual directors.

When I heard about the Apostles for the first time…  I have to admit I was a little hesitant about these Italian sisters. I was used to the traditional sisters in habits and learned to become cautious of sisters who may not be totally in line with the Holy Father and all that the Catholic Church teaches. As I was talking with Sr. Raffaella (it was more of an interrogation of the community’s legitimacy) I came to realize that not only are they orthodox, but the spiritual direction that they offer is exactly what I was looking for. I had read in Thomas Dubay’s book Seeking Spiritual Direction that spiritual direction is supposed to help you on the road to holiness and growth in virtues and prayer. Sr. Raffaella said these things almost verbatum and it was a hook, line and sinker. Once I started doing spiritual direction with Sr. Raffaella I began to see many areas of my life that I still needed the Lord’s healing, but I also became more in touch with my strong desires for religious life. Now with a spiritual guide I realized more and more that God had placed in my heart many many desires that lined up with the charism of the Apostles of the Interior Life. My background in psychology was founded on my desire to help people in a particular way, which is what the AVI do through spiritual direction. I also thoroughly enjoyed my experience of giving talks and helping give retreats. When I came to realize all these desires pointing towards the Apostles of the Interior Life, I was quite shocked because in my mind I always thought about joining an American community that wears a habit. The Lord always seems to know what is better for us and what will make us most happy.

My first impression was …well It was hard for me to imagine the sisters because none of the students knew them and for me there was no way of really knowing what to expect. But as soon as I heard the sisters talk, I knew that they were very wise and very much in line with the Church. They talked often of living a sacramental life and daily meditation and living a balanced lifestyle. Many of these life lessons were extremely helpful in helping me become more and more of who I am today.

I began the experience with the community … After I graduated in May 2011 I moved to Lawrence, Kansas to do a year of campus ministry at the St. Lawrence Campus Center so I could be close to the community and spend more time with them. In February 2012 I moved into their house in Lawrence to begin the “live-in experience” while still working at the student center. I am currently back in College Station, Texas living with the Texas sisters here and learning Italian and looking forward to what the Lord has in store next for me.

I want to become a saint and help my sisters become saints too. I hope to continue my path of discernment with the Apostles of the Interior Life and, hopefully one day, take vows as an Apostles of the Interior Life, giving everything I am and have to God. From what I can see thus far, this life is exciting and wonderful and I can’t imagine being any happier. And I can’t wait to have the opportunity to walk with someone in Spiritual Direction and see how magnificent and diverse the Lord speaks to people.