Sister Maria's Vocation Story / Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, Virginia

"I am", these two words were for me the beginning of a new life.  I didn't understand them, but they were enought to break my doubts and fears.

I was on a retreat for young people, listening to different testimonies all expressing the great joy of being loved by God. I wanted to believe and trust, but I felt I couldn´t. Where was God in the middle of all the evil and suffering in the world? Where had He been in my own struggle?

Like Jacob, I had always been fighting with God in the middle of the night, too many questions… I had no special problems, and life offered me many possibilities, but it wasn´t enough; I was thirsty for something more.

At that retreat I met Jesus as a real person, not a distant idea or a moral command. I just thought that everyone had to know that. I had been a Catholic since my childhood; I knew many Catholics but, how many of those Catholics had met the Jesus I had discovered?

"I am"; I didn´t know that those were the words God told Moses as his name (Ex. 3, 13-14); I didn´t know that Jesus made these words his name. For me they just meant: I am the one you´ve been searching for; the one who has been next to you always.

That was what I wanted, what I needed: someone to love and who loved me, completely, forever; someone I would follow wherever he went. And that was what I did. Being a nun or not, here or there, was never the question, not the most important one, but to follow him, to be with him. That was and is the basic tone of my vocation. Little by little I realized that doing things for him was not enough that I belonged to him; that´s why I became a nun.

He gave me that great experience of taking part of the birth of a new missionary congregation, the female branch of the OMI; and I really was a witness that nothing is impossible with God. But that wasn´t the last stop of my journey.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways" (Is. 55, 8) How can we discover your will, then? - I asked God when things became dark again. The path He was pointing out to me seemed to me even more "crazy" that what I have already covered.

Can you walk on the water? Only if you have your eyes fixed on him, then you can, despite the wind. And this time I had to leave my family, my friends, even who I thought I was, much more far way: in Spain, were I was born. He would give me a hundredfold.

Now every day, when I pray in the dark after vigils, I am not fighting with a stranger but with the Lord of my life. It´s still a battle, it is, the battle of rendering my heart completely his. But this time I am not alone, all my sisters are with me. Even more, in our nothingness, God is embracing all humanity in our poor hearts; we are all in the same boat. Then, even if I can´t hear it, Jesus is saying once again: "I am, do not be afraid" (Mt. 14, 27).

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The journey to joining a Trappist community begins by connecting with the vocation director at one of our monasteries. We invite you to browse our monasteries to get a sense for the beautiful places we Trappists live in and find the contact information for each of our vocation directors. You may also write to us if you have immediate questions or view our retreat calendar.

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