Some time ago I received a letter from a tearful girl wishing to launch a heartfelt appeal…
Dear brother in Christ,
I am writing to offer my experience which I hope can be of help to all those girls who feel the calling to a religious life. I am a 20 years old girl who, despite such a young age, has lived intensely and enjoyed every minute, with no regrets.
When I was only 12, I started almost by chance to attend a strict order which led me to love Christ and his Church immensely. Since I was a little girl, I have always thought that one day I would give myself to Christ […] and live in what I called my true home: a convent of my order. My parents never gave me permission to enter a convent and so I waited in trepidation to reach the age of 18. Then, while everybody was busy organising a party for my special birthday, I started in great secret to prepare my soul to donate myself to my beloved. A few months after my eighteenth birthday, I left home telling my parents that I was going on a retreat like no other, and that I would be back in a month or two. And so I started my journey under the guidance of holy sisters: loyal to the order and observant people who would donate their own lives to remain faithful to their creed. I felt such a joy inside that I thought nobody would ever be able to take it away from me. I was aware that I would meet some difficulties on the way but also aware that this equally happens to two people who are in love. Soon my parents realised that mine would have been a journey with no return and so, heartbroken, they came to see me and with tears in their eyes begged me to come home […] I went home but with the hope that I would be leaving again soon. And indeed, only after a few weeks, I left home again to get back to the same order but, this time, to its enclosed section. And I am talking about a strict and truly enclosed order: the nuns of the Poor Clares of the Immaculate Conception, whom you also mentioned in your blog. I have never felt such an immense joy in my whole life and I am sure I will never experience it ever again. Despite being behind the grille, I felt free, which may be difficult to believe, but that was the way I felt and for me it was the antechamber of Heaven. And even today, I would give anything to be able to go back there. I am writing with tears in my eyes and heartbroken to beg you not to spur anyone to abandon their path of consacration to Christ because by doing so, believe me, one dies for real. Currently I am engaged and live in a wealthy family. I am studying and I have everything one could wish for… yet, I am missing everything and I would give my own life to turn back time by a few years. But unfortunately this is not possible. I carry on living in the hope of being able to experience once again at least a little happiness. I beg you in the name of Christ and of the Virgin Mary to do anything to encourage and help those who are tempted to give up and leave. Please tell them that happiness lies only in the path which Christ has chosen for us.
Thank you for your blog.
Dearest sister in Christ,
Thank you for your testimony which I believe will be helpful to all those people who are unsure about which way of life to choose.
But in your letter, I noticed some discouragement. Dearest, every Christian must have hope in God and so one will not be afraid of anything, and spiritual happiness must always harbour in one’s soul. So, cheer up! Even though your situation may appear jeopardised to you, you must hope against hope. Are you sure you are not able to embrace a religious life with the Poor Clares of the Immaculate Conception or in another religious order? And what if perhaps God wants you to be the new Zélie Guérin (mother of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux)? But anyway, you can not live the rest of your life in regret, entrust yourself to Mary, Mediatrix of all graces, and you will be able to see that there is a solution.
Should you wish to write to me again, I hope with all my heart to hear you in a cheerful mood and full of spiritual joy. I care very much for the eternal salvation of your soul, because Christ paid on the Cross a dear price for you. Be always confident in Jesus and in the Virgin Mary!
I encourage you to embrace God’s will and I greet you fraternally in Cordibus Jesu et Mariae,