I would like to share my experience and cannot help but highlight a light I received in my childhood which took place in 1977. This providential event happened the day before my first confession and first communion. I can call it a “confirmation of my vocation.” I came from a family of ten children of which I am the youngest. My parents were such a special gift and desired to lift all their children to God as they journey on their earthly life. I was in grade three when my journey consciously began with Jesus. I firmly believed that God has chosen and inspired my dear mother to bring this light into my heart and mind which led my awareness of the deep significance of who I am to Jesus and who is He to me.
On the day before my first confession and first communion at our home, I was invited by my mother to go to her room. Being an obedient child I followed her instruction not knowing what surprises awaited for me in there.
When I got inside the room, my mother lovingly told me that she would like to help me prepare on how to receive Jesus properly in the holy sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist since the very next day would be the sacred celebration. I told her that we were already instructed by our catechist in the school but she insisted to do it again. And so the demonstration began. My mother taught me the correct postures and the right disposition in confession. She sat on the chair pretending to be a priest, guiding me on what to say. She even asked me to keep silent for a while and asked me to reflect all the wrong things I’ve done in the past.
Kneeling down before Jesus through my mother’s presence I confessed in all faith and sincerity. In that moment of grace, my faith became clear, a certainty. It became reasonable.
But the best experience wherein I was enveloped by a great grace was when my mother proceeded with the second part. As usual, she first gave me lectures on the very essence of the Holy Eucharist. Such as, why it is necessary to receive Him in this sacrament and other holy teachings which I could not remember and comprehend. After all the important explanations she then showed me a very pure white round shape of paper of which I called the “host.” Once again my mother told me to kneel down. Having had a position like an angel with a prayerful manner, she put that round paper host on my tongue and reverently said, “Body of Christ.” She instructed me very clearly on the correct position of my mouth and tongue and even how to say “Amen” to the priest. This was practiced repeatedly for several minutes.
As I have recalled back to that graced–filled event, I cannot explain the feelings of happiness and contentment I felt, especially when that pure round paper shape touched my very tongue. There was a great fulfilment and peace within me, knowing the fact that I am receiving Jesus.
In that short moment with my mother, deep down I saw Jesus as a precious and that it was the time for me to be in communion with my Lord. When that pure white round paper host shape touched my tongue, that word of my dear mother filled my heart with a great love and joy for Jesus which I cannot fathomed.
Up until this time, that blessed extraordinary experience gave me deep impression of my religious life, thus enabling me to consider the treasure that sustains and confirm the vocation that God had planted in me.
I have come to believe that that personal experience was indeed the beginning of my vocation, the beginning of my relationship with Jesus and the start of my awareness of the deep significance of my journey in the religious life. God continually allowed the deepest recesses of my being to be shaped. The experiences did not end there. Without knowing it, my desire to become a religious sister grew in my heart. Indeed, God really works in very mysterious ways.
I had a normal life, such as enjoying being outdoors and so forth. However, in 1990 SOLT missionaries came to serve in the island of St. Florentina Parish, Rapu-Rapu, Albay. SOLT brought newness and meaning to my life. Seeing them in our mission parish was as though God brought light once again into my heart and mind. I was so moved and inspired by their witness of simplicity and humility and by their sacrifices to reach out to the poorest of the poor. I was likewise deeply inspired by their togetherness and the joy they have shown.
I remember while attending college in the city I had a hard time deciding whether to continue my education or not. Although at that time I’ve strongly felt the voice of God within me, still I had many doubts that lead me to think over and over again about my vocation. In the end, with deep faith and conviction I said to myself, “I want to be one with them,” to belong to the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.
It came true when in 1992 I said yes to God and made my final vows in 1995.
Being a Religious for 15 years is not so easy. I’ve been challenged and tested in fire. As a religious missionary, I realized that serving at little missions is not about me but about God who called me. It is about the people whom God called me to serve. I realize that I must not think so much about whether I am good or not but that I am God’s instrument of love in this life. I realize that in my daily journey I must not focus so much on my weaknesses but rather on God’s strength and graces. He will give me graces if I am just open to Him.
As the Spouse of Christ, I am so delighted and very much grateful to the Lord for all His wonderful blessings He has gifted to me, in especial way for continuously shaping and molding my vocation from the moment I received His light through the inspiration of my mother’s faith and love.
Finally, I thank the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity for accepting me as I am. For the graced friendships, for the witness of a true family and oneness we share with everyone, and for the humility and simplicity especially in the way we serve the church – these inspire me to participate more fully in the vocation God has called me to be in church and in the Society of Our Lady.