QUEEN CREEK — She’s the oldest sister, yet also the youngest.
Rebecca Lasota, a parishioner at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Queen Creek, is the oldest daughter of Bob and Lynanne. This week, Rebecca will be the youngest formally discerning religious life with the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate.
She said the contemplative order, whose sisters are also missionaries, largely welcome women 21 and older. The order made an exception for Lasota, who just turned 18.
She’s the second oldest of five home-schooled children and has been in dialogue with the community for three years. For Rebecca, the journey to sisterhood began at age 4. She recalled reading about St. Dominic around age 11 or 12 and remembered his early start with missionary work. That appealed to her. So did a devout prayer life.
“I didn’t want to be a missionary outside of a religious order,” Rebecca said during a Jan. 9 farewell reception hosted by her parish’s Daughters of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
By 15, she began researching religious communities. It was time to get serious about her life’s direction, she said. Someone suggested Rebecca first try a vocation match website, much like the one vocationnetwork.org offers. Some search results popped up.
“I was a little afraid of it because it was so real for me,” Rebecca said.
The Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, which has 60 sisters serving worldwide, was among the results. Rebecca knew a little about the community, but put aside the thought. She didn’t think much more about the order until an encounter shortly thereafter with Sr. Mary Beata Im, PVMI in the parking lot of a Home Depot.
Rebecca recognized their habit. They don navy blue dresses — an optional light blue in the summer time — with a white collar, black veil and medallion of the Immaculate Conception.
Are you called to religious life?
That began a series of conversations, lunches and visits to the motherhouse in New York. Now, a dialogue that began three years ago will start a new chapter as Rebecca becomes a postulant with the community Jan. 24.
She’ll spend the next six to 10 months learning about the order and embracing their prayer life. A taste of apostolate work begins as a novice.
“Their unique apostolate is fallen-away Catholics,” Rebecca said.
The sisters encounter these inactive Catholics through door-to-door evangelization. They seek out the stray sheep, strengthen weak and broken homes and promote prayerful devotions within them.
“She loves our charism. We go out as the Good Shepherd. We carry Jesus, the Good News, to our people,” Sr. Mary Beata said.
She and two other PVMI sisters serving the Diocese of Phoenix recently held a luncheon with Rebecca. It was both a farewell and welcome to the community, along with assurance of their prayers and love.
“Rebecca is a very mature young lady and she knows God is calling her to religious life,” Sr. Mary Beata said. She credited her upbringing, especially her mom’s love for the Lord, for fostering Rebecca’s great faith in God.
“She’s super social. She loves people,” Rebecca’s mother, Lynanne said. She noted the joy her oldest daughter will undoubtedly bring to the infirmary plus her rapport with young people. Lynanne sees the contemplative yet active order as a good fit.
“It’s definitely a loss and you grieve, but this is what we raised them for. We raised them to give them to God. It increases the spiritual union,” Lynanne said.
Bob, her husband, agreed that their daughter’s entry into religious life is a small loss for the domestic church, but a great gain for the global one.
“You’re excited for them. It’s a wonderful life decision,” Bob said.
The Lasota’s oldest child, Paul, is in the seminary run by the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire, CT.
“The beauty for me,” Lynanne said, “is you get to be a part of the order. They embrace you too. The orders really support the families.”