Siblings Following Path to Priesthood, Religious Life

The following uplifting article was recently posted by Patricia O’Connell, a correspondent with the Catholic Free Press, serving the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Meaghan Boland first felt the call to religious life at age 16. She was preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

“It was just kind of the whole preparation,” she said.

Also, in high school, she went on a youth retreat, where she spent time in the presence of Our Lord.

“That drew me into the adoration piece,” she explained.

Meaghan’s faith continued to deepen.

So her parents, Thomas and Virginia Boland, were not surprised by Meaghan’s recent announcement that she wanted to join a convent.

But there was an unexpected twist three years ago when Meaghan’s older brother, James, discerned he had too a vocation.

“I think I was more surprised by him than I was by Meaghan,” Mrs. Boland recalled, but added, “I kind of had a sense too that something was going on with him.”

Jim, 25, now a seminarian for the Worcester Diocese, is currently spending the summer at the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

And Meaghan, 21, plans to enter the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

A graduate of St. Bernadette Elementary School, she is the school’s first vocation to religious life since it was founded in 1997. (Jim was too old to attend.)

Miss Boland went to public high school, and then Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. There, she discovered other young people strong in their faith.

“My friends from Franciscan are extremely supportive,” she said. “I’ve helped several friends who are discerning as well.” People are very excited for you, she said.

Miss Boland first shared the news with her brother. “He kind of saw it coming too,” she said. “He’s on a similar path.”

Plans, right now, are to enter the convent in the fall.

“Oh yeah, I’m very peaceful, very joyful about it,” she stated. “I’m very excited.”

“We had a good faith life growing up,” said Jim Boland, explaining that his mother is religious education director at St. Bernadette Parish, and all of this “trickled down.”

“God works in mysterious ways sometimes, and he led us all to where we needed to be,” he added.

Mr. Boland was an altar server until he left for college. He was also involved in his parish, helping out during the summers, and, during this time became a daily Mass-goer.

Mr. Boland will be ordained to the priesthood, God willing, in 2014.

“It wasn’t part of my plan initially to ever do something like this, but God works in mysterious ways,” he said.

Father Stephen Gemme, pastor of St. Bernadette, is pleased that two Church vocations are coming from his parish.

“As a parish we are very proud of the Boland family,” he said. “Ginny Boland is our director of religious education, her husband Tom is a police officer in Marlborough. They are a great Catholic family. It is no surprise to me that two of their children would have religious vocations to serve the Church.”

Father Gemme also described the active faith life of the Boland siblings.

“I know for both Meghan and Jim Boland, daily Mass and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is an important part of their spiritual lives,” he explained.

“I think their vocations are another example of the fruit of Eucharistic adoration. We have a chapel of eucharistic adoration, and many come both day and night to pray before Our Lord in the Eucharist. Both Meg and Jim have a devotion to our Blessed Mother and pray the Rosary. Asking Our Lady for her help and guidance is an important part of every Catholic’s spiritual life.”

“We give thanks to God for the beautiful gift of a vocation to the priesthood and the religious life from Saint Bernadette Parish, and pray for many more!” Father Gemme added.

St. Bernadette Parish is holding a fundraiser for Meaghan on August 13th, following the 5 p.m. Vigil Mass, as all of her student loans must be paid off before she can enter the convent, said Mrs. Boland.

There is another Boland sibling, Michael, who has just graduated from high school.

“I have no idea what God’s plan is for him,” said Mrs. Boland. “We’ll let God decide.”

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