My name is Tatum McWhirter (“Tea” in Italy!)
I was born in Hastings, NE February 3, 1987
I graduated from Benedictine College with a degree in Theology
I seek to be authentic, formed into His image with every life experience.
The beauty and harmony created with colors makes me love scrapbooking and taking a walk in nature.
From my wonderful parents, I take their enjoyment of manual labor, playing sports, and talking and relating with people of every sort.
“Looking on him, he loved him.” Mark 10:21. When thinking back on all the steps and ways God worked in my life, I first have to note that He always looked on me with love. My first experience of this was through my parents, who have always been sacrificial and supportive. To this day, I have always been at Catholic Schools. In middle school I was put on the right track through a simple Morning and bedtime prayer my 8th grade teacher, Father Kubat, gave me. He told me, “If you pray this prayer everyday, you will become a saint.” Being naturally choleric, I started praying those prayers to become a saint. In high school Jesus attracted me to follow Him more closely in the faith through a good friend and mentor, Jessica Parks. He took it a step further when He asked me, through a retreat leader, if I would consider religious life. “No way, that is that for me,” I laughed. I apologized to Jesus for laughing at the idea of religious life, but reasoned with him pointing out that I was in a serious dating relationship and was hoping to fulfill my natural desires to be a wife and mother. Things changed a bit, and I was no longer dating that guy. I was on the hunt in college for the right one for me when God encouraged me again to first take time to discern my Vocation in an intentional way.
I began to see that my will conformed to His would make me happiest. In my “discernment” I was left a little bit lost because I had no guide to help in this journey. The day when God’s providence sent Sr. Elena to me, an Apostle of the Interior Life, He sent me one of the greatest graces I have ever received. I felt like it was a 3 in 1 package deal. As I said, I was looking for a guide. I desired to learn how to pray daily and discern the will of God in my life. The Apostles are formed exactly for this and offer discernment programs, like Samuel Group, which helped me tremendously to know myself more and the more profound desires on my heart. The day when I gave my “yes” to God and to the call I felt on my heart, was not the last “yes” I would give. It was a “yes” that needed to be purified from the desire to put my life together and to grasp at the gift of the vocation. God continued to look on me with love and gave me the grace to surrender and trust him that if it was a gift he was wanted to share with me then I didn’t need to grasp. There was an interior freedom in this which led me to focus daily on Him and growing in our relationship. For me the discovery of my Vocation is not just one day of my life, but rather each day I discover my vocation in peace and joy with Him as my guide.
I find discernment to be a really beautiful time in one’s life. It is not a time to rush through, but a time to embrace and recognize the love He has for us in giving the gift of being with Him in prayer and conversation about the ways he wants to fulfill us and make us Saints.
I met/heard the Apostles for the first time in college I was doing a lot of apostolate without praying. I found myself at a Catholic summer camp where we had one hour to pray in the morning. I didn’t pray because I thought my whole day was given to God in the ministry. I was struck by a young man, Chris, praying during that time and one day he was even praying during his free time. I told God, “I don’t remember the last time I spoke to you from my heart, but it seems like Chris is really talking to you.” I asked him, “Chris, how do you pray?” Chris asked me if I have ever heard of daily meditation, then asked me if I had ever met the Apostles of the Interior Life, who taught him how to pray. I said no to both questions and desired even more to learn how to pray. Sr. Elena came randomly two days later during a summer when she was unable to go back to Italy for Visa reasons. I asked her right away to talk with me about prayer. It was a very important day for me, which would end up changing changing my life first and foremost by making daily meditation a priority.
my first impression was …
I was incredibly struck by Sr. Elena and the depth of formation she gave me. Then when I met the community, I had many questions: “Who are they? What kind of group is this? Are they all Italian? Why don’t they wear a habit? Are they real Sisters?” Needless, to say, I was not only intrigued, but immensely drawn to their charism, but I first felt I needed to “figure them out”.
I began the experience with the community
in January of 2009 after a long drive from Nebraska where I drove 150 miles towards Colorado instead of Kansas. I traveled even more miles and across the ocean to arrive in Rome in the summer of 2010 to start the formation in the official house of formation and go to school at the Lateran University. I am now in my 2nd year of philosophy. God willing, I will take vows in 2014.
I desire To love with a love that is incarnate and authentic, to realize this as a Consecrated and a spiritual mother, while living on His Grace and providence, would be a happy and fulfilled life for me.