Read: On Being a "Bride of Christ": Dawn Hausmann

Religious sisters and consecrated virgins are women who have taken public vows in order to live in this world as “brides of Christ” with each having their own unique and fascinating vocation story.
Today we hear from Dawn Hausmann, Director of Consecrated Vocations for the Diocese of Lansing, who charts her remarkable vocational journey towards becoming a Consecrated Virgin: 
“My name is Dawn Hausmann. I was born and raised in the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, Michigan. My parents raised us kids in the faith at St. Joseph’s Shrine, the parish family that I still consider my home. My life in grade school was ‘pretty normal’ as I attended the public school in town called Columbia Central. I played sports, enjoyed friends, and had a great life with my family in the peace of country-living. However, in high school I paid little attention to God. I always felt that He was with me and looking out for me but from a distance and on the “back burner” of my life. This brought me to be led astray from truly living a life according to Christ.”
“Upon finishing high school and entering college, God did not allow me to remain at peace with a “lukewarm” faith. He wanted the front burner of my life and He invited me into a deeper relationship with Him. The way I had been living was not satisfying me anymore. So, I began seeking God. I questioned many things about my Catholic faith because of friends who asked me about saints, Mary, and many other beliefs we hold true. I thank them today for helping me take my faith and God seriously. A new chapter of my life had come.”
“I began getting involved in St. John’s Student parish at Michigan State University, attending retreats, going to daily Mass, reading Scripture, and finding friends in the Catholic faith. There was a point when a friend of mine asked me, “Dawn, have you discerned your vocation?” I really hadn’t thought about it and just assumed I was getting married one day. However, when I dated guys, deep down I knew that something was just not right, like my heart was already taken and I was unable to move forward with relationships. My friend continued, “You know that any good Catholic would ask GOD what He wants you to be, what HIS calling is for you.” That moment my friend’s words planted a seed of discernment in my heart. Then another friend of mine told me that in prayer God told him to encourage me to be open to being a religious sister. I was overjoyed and couldn’t believe that God was calling me, that he knew me, and had a plan for me, while at the same time, I was completely scared of what that may mean for my life! Soon later I felt called to discern deeper the vocation to Virginity for the Kingdom by going on mission in Colorado Springs as a Holy Cross Associate.”
“While on mission I told God, “Okay, God, you have one year to call me to a religious order. I can’t date while on mission, so here is your opportunity.” I realized that when we give God just a bit of room to lead our lives, He so graciously receives it and does beautiful things with it. He was working on my heart that year. I visited a few convents while in Colorado but didn’t feel that they were the calling for me. Upon completing that mission year, I would continue serving in Bolivia with the Salesian Lay Missioners where I would be in closer contact with religious sisters and end up living with them in their convents. I admired their vocation and gift of self to God alone and service to his people, however, I knew deep down that the Salesian Order was my permanent home. My heart was still restlessly searching for something different for me.”
“Upon returning to the U.S., I attended John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C., when I met a wonderful woman who was a Consecrated Virgin named China Briceno who became my mentor and friend. I found myself drawn to her and desiring to understand more of the mystery of her life as a bride of Christ. She looked like the rest of us, dressed in beautiful feminine modesty, yet she was very different. She radiated a joy that was not of this world, the joy of belonging to her Beloved, Jesus, while living in the midst of the world and working as a youth minister. She spoke of her life with Jesus just as someone would speak of the love of a spouse on earth. She talked about date nights with GOD and of the freedom and joy she had of living forever committed to belonging totally to God alone, espoused to her Maker! She was filled with zeal to do whatever her Spouse asked of her, go wherever He led her to serve, to love and to pray for His people. You could tell that she was a woman in love, in love with God! The love they shared overflowed to great fruitfulness and generosity to share that love with the world. In my skepticism I thought, “Is it really possible for someone to experience being in love with God as if with a man on earth?” The more I spent time with her, the more I trusted this to be true. My attraction to the beauty of marriage with a man on earth began to be transformed to a deeper yearning for the marriage of heaven, marriage with Jesus alone, the only Man that could truly fulfill this heart of mine.”
“With the help of China and my spiritual director, Fr. Juan, I seriously began discerning a calling to Consecrated Virginity. This was not a smooth journey, as I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions daily from fears of what this journey would mean for me, fears of what it would cost me, while experiencing the most radical joy, peace, and life in this path which was new to my heart. I began trusting more and more in God and his beckoning me to deeper love with Him alone. I had deep yearning to spend time with God alone more and more, and desire to help others learn to know and love God too. Recognizing this call was like I just met myself for the first time, I realized who I was meant to be and what I was designed for! It brought a great sense of joy and desire to love God deeper and serve God’s people with new passion and grace. My heart was finally able to rest, rest in the trust and peace that only God can bring when you are on the right path. I have never felt more alive until discerning the call to belong to Christ alone, espoused to him forever, being a living witness to the world of our ultimate destiny: intimate union with God!”
“New grace was given, the grace of renouncing the beautiful and natural desire for marriage to a man on earth for marriage with God, opening me to a spiritual motherhood that I did not know before. God was asking me to be a mother to many of his children, helping them get to heaven, as a result of journeying to be his bride.”
“Upon returning to Michigan in the spring of 2011, I petitioned Bishop Boyea to consider me for this calling. November 2019 I was given the greatest gift of my life as I walked down the cathedral’s isle in a wedding dress to be wedded to our Lord Jesus through the hands of Bishop. I thank the Lord for this great gift, being a bride of Christ not only in this life, but into eternity! Thank you, Jesus!”
* Do you feel that God may be calling you in prayer to religious life or a life of consecrated virginity? Do feel free to contact Dawn at