Jo

Jo WilliamsonMy name is Jo, I am 32 years old and come from Weymouth, Dorset.

Prior to Compass, I was cautiously curious about religious life but there was absolutely no way I was going to branch out and investigate it on my own. My naïve preconception was something along the lines that Sr. Anne and Fr Luke were there to analyse each of us individually, set us a few tests and then hand us a card telling us which religious order we should each join.

It is difficult to adequately describe the Compass experience because it is so indefinable. It has to be ‘lived’. It has its own rhythm, its own space and its own pace. It is much greater than the sum of its parts. Much of the progress is done interiorly – a shifting, shaping, moulding and reshaping that is constantly taking place within and it’s still working in you when you’ve gone home. Certainly the Holy Spirit was very much at work behind the scenes, working in each of us. God was most at work during the quiet moments, moments of stillness and inactivity.

Compass has not been about factory-processing us for religious life but instead it has taken a holistic approach to our development. It has been a chrysalis experience. All our activities have enabled us to discover our inner selves and they will all be invaluable in what will be a life-long process of growth.

Throughout the year, we have felt very consciously aware of being upheld and uplifted in prayer by the sponsors – it has been a great support to us, especially in our dark moments. I am so touched to know that there are people out there who really do care what young people are going through in their discernment and the fact that they are trying to smooth the path for us is so encouraging.

I can’t tell you exactly where my future lies. I know that He’s got a plan and perhaps I’ve still got some growing to do before He’ll reveal it to me. Sometimes I think I’ve got a clear idea of where I’m heading but I’ve learnt not to be presumptuous because I know that my God is a God of surprises and He is probably just about to lead me to where I least expect. Wherever God decides to lead me from here on in, it will be with the firm foundation of the Compass experience under my feet.