True Vocation = True JOY!


“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” 

-Teilhard de Chardin

  • I think living out your true vocation is about finding daily joy while utilizing the gifts God gave you to help transform the world. I want to use my gift to empower the people of God to put God’s love in action! I want to do this by honing my ability to preach. With this, I want to become a voice of hope and challenge in our church. A voice from the minority that helps give a voice to the parts of the body that are often overlooked and forgotten. A voice that engages young Catholics to make their faith come alive! 

THE BENEFITS: Having Christ light shine through me!

  • I want to shine with the light of Christ! I believe God has given me the skill set to do so, but I’ll need to find confidence to use my voice without fear/ hesitation.
  • Finding the peace of mind and heart to know that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. Doing the work I was called to do.
  • I will wake up in a career that gives me daily energy and life to actually  make our Church the place we claim it to be.
  • I will get to work to transform the church into the community we aim for it to be instead of the place our complacent can allow it to become.
  • Life in a diverse city full of life where I can build true community and fight for social justice issues. 

THE OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME: Self-Doubt, Fear, and the Time!

  • Self- Doubt – I often lack confidence in my abilities. No matter how much I succeed, I tend to focus on the moments when I missed the mark. In this way, I am a true perfectionist. I have many dreams, but what if I am not the one they are meant for? What if I am not capable of things I hope and aim for?
  • Fear. I fear failing in a million ways. What if I am unable to complete my doctorate? What if while on the looooong journey to completion I lose sight of my goal and never get my PHD? What if I move to a new place and feel alone? I know community is a key part of me discovering God and finding my voice.  What if I never find that supportive and challenging community? What if I get my degree and do not find a job or chance to utilize it? What if the process for this degree sends me on an endless and aimless search with no clear destination? I have so many fears, and the answer is that I may have to face them all and still move forward to achieve God’s work in me.
  • Time. There never seems to be enough as the summer continues to slip away! I plan to finish my applications by July 19th when the next school year begins.


  1. A doctorate in preaching- It is my hope that a doctorate in preaching will help open doors for me that can often be closed to women in the church. I also hope that it helps me cultivate my voice as well as find ways to make my voice known. Also,I hope  simply having a PHD as a black woman in the Catholic church could be a testament to young people in the minority community of what we are capable of and that our voice matters. 


  1. I think I am still searching for true community! I think this journey takes inner work. It starts with knowing who I am and being in spaces that I am called to be. From this, I can live authentically and find people who help bring out the best in me. I hope for a community of people who believe in me when I fail to believe in myself.  Family, good friends,and a faith community to lean on and redirect me toward God when I lose my way!

MY PLAN OF ACTION & DEADLINES: So much work, so little time!

  1. Complete applications to my top graduate schools choices: Emory, Vanderbilt, Aquinas, and others. I have 3 weeks to complete 4 or 5 applications as well as prepare for the upcoming school year. Summer is slipping away, rest is not promised, and I worry that I wont get it done in time!The applications must be in before work begins on July 19th!
  2. Take the GRE and get a competitive score! This will be a dosey! 
  3. Decide where I want to go, and follow God the rest of the way! Then, begin my new path in a new city by the beginning of the next school year in the fall 2021.

7 thoughts on “True Vocation = True JOY!

  1. There is a lot here to simmer with and to percolate on. do it to it! just to add to the mix of stuff, i have also looked into preaching degrees through divinity schools but also started to look at communication studies as an untraditional route to explore communication, voice, expression, and how we engage folks (not communication disorders or speech pathology, though these are also important for folks to pursue). As we claim and reclaim voices of hope and voices of challenge, I have realized that preaching, especially for lay Catholics, can take on many different forms–pulpits in churches, pulpits in classrooms, pulpits in writing, new and emerging pulpits.

    I hear you about self-doubt and being hard on oneself. We are our own worst critics but we can also be our most vibrant cheerleaders. Are we listening to the whispers of the divine that counter the screams of self-doubt? How can we fine-tune our listening skills?

    You will survive the GRE. It is a doozy but you will get through it and prevail. Remember to breathe; whatever score you get is not a reflection of who you are and of your abilities. More and more graduate programs are recognizing that (thank Goddess).

    Do it to it, with sacred sass!

  2. I love your energy, Kayla! And your determination and hopeful vision. I can feel you energized in your posts and encourage you to keep following your joy!

  3. Dear Kayla, I hear your call to preach. The spirit has planted this deep in your heart and soul. You are called to “proclaim from the housetops.” I wanted to tell you how much I love what you shared on Monday –“Opportunities to preach are as common as grass.” AMEN!!

  4. Yes, Kayla! You are a preacher. I heard this in what you shared in our breakout room Monday and I hear it coming out so clearly here in these words you have written! I love your energy, your vision, your commitment to joy!

    Yes, you have some big steps ahead of you: completing applications and preparing for and taking the GRE. I wonder how you might “chunk” them into smaller and more bite-sized pieces to make them more doable?

    As you consider the different programs you have named, and your interest in applying to others, I wonder: what is particularly that you are looking for in a doctoral program for preaching? What matters to you – cost, location, makeup of the students, makeup of the faculty, other criteria? Who do you need to talk to in order to figure out which program is the best fit?

    You name a desire for community and the need for inner work – yes, absolutely, and those two things tend to go hand in hand with each other. Perhaps your doctoral program could provide some opportunities for both?

    You named perfectionism and self-doubt as challenges, as they are for many of us, especially when we can’t see people who look like us doing the things that we dream of doing. (For years, I described myself as a spoken-word poet. It took a Presbyterian pastor woman friend to gently name to me that what I was trying to do in performance poetry is actually preaching…but I couldn’t see it because I never women preaching modeled, so it never occurred to me as a possibility.)

    Now, I realize what I am about to say is as cheesy as all get-out, but I’m going to go ahead and say it anyway: if you shoot for the moon and miss, you’ll land among the stars. That is to say, even if things don’t turn out precisely as you envision them (and the never do), God is faithful, and the God who has carried you this far and planted this dream in you will continue to be faithful.

    I invite you to read my post for this week on the vision of a Catholic Women’s Preaching Circle and see if it resonates with you at all. Also, as I said, I studied preaching at Aquinas Institute, and I’m glad to share my experience if that would be helpful to you at any point. I also know of several Catholic women with preaching doctoral degrees and I’d be willing to reach out to them if a conversation with them would be helpful to you.

    Cheering you on and sending so many prayers of support and blessing. I give thanks to God for the beautiful vision planted in you – may it come to fruition with much joy in every step on the journey.

  5. Your dreams are beautiful and attainable. I offer you two questions for your consideration:

    What if your dreams are so powerful that they cannot be contained by the need to be perfect?

    What if you create a community around you wherever you go?

  6. I am excited for you Kayla that you are setting this intention for yourself of getting a doctorate in preaching. I can hear in your writing the inner passion and desire you have for this. Can you trust that the flame of the divine inside of you will guide you to overcome the obstacles? The hunger is out there for your preaching!

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