Going because called and sent…

I discovered the Little Sisters when I was working at the Diocesan Missionary Center.  That was in the 1970s and the Church of the Post Council was looking for new forms.  Listening to the many missionaries who were returning from the different continents was also telling me something.  I entered the Little Sisters of Jesus with the desire to live a new and different way of being sent out by Jesus:  "Go..." by learning to "cry the gospel through life," according to the motto of Brother Charles de Foucauld.

Fascinated by the life of Nazareth, I discovered the contemplative dimension in the monotony of daily life, often thinking of the Virgin Mary who kept events in her heart, meditating on them and trying to grasp their meaning.  The transition was difficult.  I feared I had made a mistake.  After years of pastoral involvement, I felt a little lost.  I had few opportunities to talk to others about what was important to me and, of course, shyness didn't help.  The first years of formation were fundamental for deepening a more intimate and familiar relationship with Jesus- which I was thirsty for- and with those who had decided to share the treasure that gave meaning to my life.

Sharing has taught me a new way to communicate.  I was in Abruzzo for seasonal work; the boy who worked with me and who was teaching me to hoe and water began to ask me questions about the meaning of life and my choice....  I discovered that I had learned a new language that allowed me to communicate.  I was able to experience this possibility on other occasions: first as a waitress in a Roman hotel, then in Irpinia in the south of Italy, after the earthquake, when questions about God and about life and death were numerous.  I understood, in this land of the South, tested by innocent suffering, that  thirst for the Gospel, for a close and humble God, for a church that becomes leaven, was hidden in the hearts of many and springs up when conventional rules are skipped....

On the eve of my definitive commitment in the Little Sisters of Jesus, I was asked to go to the Philippines.  This missioning seemed to confirm my initial desire to go far away, to enter into another culture, and to share with the impoverished, of a bigger South than I knew, something of the "much" that I had received.  I understood how my desire was rooted in the call of the Lord, through the voice of my congregation.  Between prayer and hesitation, I understood that the Mission is more than a geographical question.  It is an attitude of heart, a passion that dwells within me, and the awareness of being sent.


little sister anna Rita