We are living days of jubilee. In a few days Sister Ana Luisa Castro will be professing her perpetual vows in her birthplace, Guimarães.
Behind this “yes” that she will profess on the 8th of December, before her community, friends, family, Sister Luisa holds a story about “God’s Will”. It’s worth reading, in thanksgiving for the gift of her life and surrender.
God is actually closer than I think and might want more of me.
I have been a Sister of the Aliança de Santa Maria since 2008, but the story of my vocation starts much earlier.
As a child I had a basic notion of who God was; my mother used to take me to church on Sunday and taught me God was always present and indeed this Presence made itself known in many ways! I grew up with this kind of faith, which although not deep, was in fact being plenished by brief key moments; one of those moments was a book about Blessed Jacinta that my grandmother brought me from Fátima. From then onwards I began to pray the Rosary at my own risk.
“…From then onwards
I began to pray the Rosary
at my own risk.”
In the meantime I was doing well at school and the dream of becoming a doctor began to take shape until a strange idea occurred to me in 12th grade:
“what if I spent some time in a convent?” I subsequently spent a week in the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites, where the contemplation, the silence and the prayerful and joyful atmosphere of that charming place touched my life. I left with a different idea of God: God is actually closer than I think and might want more of me.
||”what if I spent
some time in a convent?”||
That uneasiness stayed at the back of my mind while my life unfolded in a wonderful way: I was admitted to Medical School in Porto. Moving from Guimarães to the academic setting of Porto meant a new acquired independence that allowed me to live my way. However, even if in this new phase of my life I had everything going for me, I didn’t feel fulfilled and the experience of God in the Carmelite Convent kept surfacing.
Things got tougher during a holiday camp, where I struck an unexpected friendship with a young girl, very different from me, who months later entered a religious order. I started visiting her in Fátima, and in the house of the Aliança de Santa Maria I found a place of great intimacy with God and with our Lady, and a fraternal joy that was truly moving. From then onwards everything became a lot clearer. I finished my degree having already taken the decision to enter the Congregation. In the last years spent in Porto, where so many other proposals kept coming up, regular spiritual direction was essential together with a life of prayer, enabling me to discern in total inner freedom.
a lot clearer”
For my parents it was painful. Besides being surprised by my decision, I was also an only child; but for me the day I entered, in 2008, was the beginning of a life of surrender by the hand of Our Lady whom I learnt to call Mother. In the Aliança de Santa Maria I found a place where God prepares each day for me, so that with Him and in community I can take Him to others specifically through the Message of Fátima.
Jornal Presente | Leiria-Fátima
24 October 2015