I grew up in Pueblo, Colo., with my identical twin sister, Gina, and my older sister, Luci. I was raised Catholic by my parents, Dr. Julie Meeker and Vince Rossi. My faith was nourished early on by attending the Shrine of St. Therese Catholic School and by our family nanny, who taught me to pray. I had no inkling of a religious vocation while growing up, let alone that it was an option. But I have learned well that God has a far better plan for my life than I could come up with myself.
I grew deeper in my Catholic faith while attending the University of Dallas. During my sophomore year, I attended a silent retreat for the first time, which was led by the Religious Sisters of Mercy. During that retreat, as I was praying in silence before the Blessed Sacrament, I heard the Lord inviting me, in the depths of my heart, to discern my vocation and consider religious life. Despite being genuinely struck by the joy of the sisters, the idea terrified me.
However, our dear Lord is so gentle and patient. After that retreat, the Lord continued to pursue me, particularly during adoration and Mass, like a gentle prodding in my heart that evoked within me a great desire to live for Him. “Open my heart to yours,” became a constant prayer, and I continued to come to know His love. As my relationship with Him grew, so did my trust and confidence. Our little friend, St. Therese of Lisieux, accompanied me in a special way and showed me, through her confident trust, how to totally depend on Jesus.
Although it was scary to give up my plans for the future (which included a career in medicine) and face the unknowns of separation from my family in order to enter a convent, it gave me so much peace to trust that not only was God in control, but that He would lead me to discover it and give me the grace I needed to respond with alacrity. I constantly returned to a piece of advice from one of the sisters: “Peace follows God’s will ...” Deep in my heart, I knew I was called to become a religious sister. I visited the motherhouse of the Religious Sisters of Mercy during my junior year of college, and I felt like I was coming home.
After graduating from college, I entered religious formation. When I became a novice in 2017, I received the religious habit and my religious name, Sister Maria Amata (Amata means “beloved”). I professed first vows on Aug. 15, 2019, vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and service of the poor, sick and ignorant. I now study clinical psychology at Divine Mercy University, where I am continuing to discover the love of our Lord and His peace. It is such a privilege to live this life of love.