My name is Sr. Chantelle Bonk…and I would like to share with you the love story between my God and me. I am the third of five children, and grew up on a farm near a small village in Southern Saskatchewan called Glenavon. Early on I learned to love the prairies and the vast openness and simplicity they offered me. Here in this environment I experienced God and the sowing of the seed of my call to religious life.
As I grew up, my life became full of distractions. I was very much involved in school, extra -curricular activities, sports and community events. My social life began to take the fore front. When I left small town rural Saskatchewan, and moved to Saskatoon to attend the University of Saskatchewan, I was overwhelmed. Here I was in the big city, where I knew virtually no one. The openness and simplicity of the prairie was lost to me, or so it seemed. But in Saskatoon, I met God in a new way. I remembered my long solitary walks in the country side feeling God’s presence close to me. As a child God for me was vast, beautiful and open. I sensed he knew me personally, and had many hopes for my life.
While at university heart began to search for the something beautiful God created me for. I began attending prayer meetings and slowly my heart opened up to God’s presence and love. Here I met young men from the seminary and young university students on fire for the Jesus Christ. I began to say to the Lord : I see you calling many young men to the seminary, why can’t I also give my life totally to you? This desire to totally give to God slowly began to grow and take root within me. I find my call a mystery, truly initiated by God. I was very seriously considering religious life without ever having exposure to sisters.
Then I heard about a vocational discernment house in Saskatoon and asked to move in. During my year and a half at the discernment house, I wrestled with my God and myself! I had always dreamed of having a family, a husband and children, here I learned gradually embraced God’s dream for me. A turning point came during a moment of prayer. I was struggling with God over this call that would not go away. I asked the Lord to leave me alone saying : I just want to be a normal person, but if your will for me is religious life, make your will mine own. More than anything else I wanted to do his will. He slowly answered my prayer and my heart began to change.
There were tears, yes, I had to say goodbye to my dreams to embrace another that had become within me a passion and deep desire. Little by little the Lord taught me to surrender my own will and embrace his. I fell more deeply in love with Jesus, and also with the Sisters of the Presentation who had so warmly opened their home up to me. This community offered to me all I was searching for; an emphasis on prayer life, community life, and a heritage of apostolic zeal. Eventually I decided I also wanted to offer my life to Jesus Christ as a Sister of the Presentation of Mary. I made my final commitment in the year of Jubilee. It was the Lord’s year 2000 grace to me.
During my time in community I have had the opportunity to teach and further my studies in the area of counselling and Trauma Therapy. I ministered for 8 years at the discernment house, then worked as a counsellor and Trauma therapist full time for two years. Presently, I am ministering as Formation director. My ministry is a blessed and privileged one as I work with newer members of the community to discover the richness and beauty of discipleship as it is lived out in our community. It is my pleasure and joy to accompany others in their search for God’s will, to help them discover that they are the pearl of great price held in hand of the Lord. Are you ready to hand over your whole life to God and live his dream for your life? Believe me it is worth it!