While she may look like it, Rebecca Payne isn’t your average Ambrose student. The elementary education major made a huge decision a year ago to join the Franciscan Sister of Christ the Divine Teacher in Davenport, a convent.
Payne has only spent a night there here and there so far, getting to know the women she will spend the rest of her life with. However, starting this summer she’ll be moving in to spend her junior and senior year at Ambrose living at the convent. She’ll still attend all of her regular classes, but won’t live on campus. During her senior year or soon after graduation, she hopes to start Formation.
“I’m just excited to get in there and get started,” Payne said. “It’ll be a lot different.” She will have to ask for permission to go anywhere besides school and will have a curfew. She describes is as a high school state of mind that she will follow for the rest of her life.
However, Payne is doing it to get a sense of community.
“We bonded so quickly,” Payne said of the women she’ll be living with, which include Ambrose graduates Mother Susan and Sister Anthony. “I was really nervous when I accepted it myself that this is what God wanted me to do,” she said.
While Payne is confident in her decision, she said the reactions from friends and family have been mixed. Most have been happy for her, but some people aren’t sure what to think.
“The hardest part was telling my parents,” she said. “ They were supportive, but at the same time it was different for them.”
Payne never told her parents she’d been thinking of joining a convent until she had decided for sure.
“When I told my mom she was a little bit shocked because for her it came out of the blue,” she said, adding that both of her parents have been very supportive of her decision.
The hardest part, Payne said, will be not talking to her parents as much. She described her family as tight-knit, but said she will still be able to see them once a month and write anytime. How often she sees her family will vary depending on the stages she’s in of her journey to become a nun.
Payne’s biggest goal is “to grow even more in my faith.” By joining the convent, she feels she will be taking a big step forward.