Unlike most vocation stories, I never ever thought about becoming a religious when I was young… not even in my late teens and in fact I did not even consider Jesus the Son of God but had regarded Him as a prophet.
I was baptized Catholic but did not understand my faith despite CCD and eventually left it until I got sick when I was 25. In the hospital, I converted to Christianity and promised God that I’d devote my life to Him if He made me well. And He did!
But I had a long way to recover spiritually and I asked the Virgin Mary to help me love her Son. She helped me develop a strong love for Him as I sought to discern the genuiness of my calling to the religious life. I felt a constant ache in my heart for God and I knew that no finite creature could appease it… only the infinite could fulfill my heart. Searching for orders, I knew it had to be Carmel because of my contemplative personality and my devotion to Mother Mary, whom I know will always lead me back to her Son, should I go astray. Now I have a joy no one can take from me…the joy of being totally His.
“When I grow old, I want to be like you…” the line a child of nine said to St. Therese following the Novena Rose prayer: “please pick me a rose from your heavenly garden…”, whenever she paid a visit to her Parish Church after classes in grade school.
Those daily prayers reached heaven… who would have thought that the Little Flower of Jesus heard, worked hard and interceded for that little girl’s prayer.
It took me a long time and long way to answer that inner calling from childhood. St. Therese and who else but the Most Blessed Mother – have guided me to seek a life worthy of following her Son, loving Him deeply and becoming totally His. Now, a few decades after, I have chosen “Sister M. Rose Therese” for my religious name, the same one whom they would lead as a Bride of Christ in a Carmel’s garden of the Divine Heart of Jesus.