People and day by day circumstances offer us wonderful moments, which when we perceive them, give us the key to find, decide and live our vocation. Sister Leticia de Jesús Rodríguez made a choice. This is her story:
Sister Leticia de Jesús Rodríguez shares with us the history of her vocation
By Sister Leticia de Jesús Rodríguez, CCVI
Everything started when I was about eight years old; well, at least that is when I remember being aware of the presence of God in my life. My dad took me to visit an aunt who belonged to another religious congregation and we went to visit her convent one afternoon.
I remember that while my dad was talking with my aunt, I was sitting on a bench outside de chapel, surrounded by a beautiful garden. I could hear the sounds of the students that were there and the sounds of the Sisters doing their regular tasks. I can’t express it with words, but I started to feel so well, so peaceful, so calm, that I thought: “It would be so nice for me to live here”. Afterward, my dad mentioned that at that moment my aunt asked him: “¿What could Leticia be thinking about?” That was when I became aware of a big statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus inside the Chapel. Christ seemed to be looking at me attentively and I felt that He wanted to talk to me. I remember that, as an impulse, I started to talk with the image of Jesus and I told Him: “Jesus, I want to be your bride forever; I promise that I will never marry so that I can be your bride forever.” As time went by, I, of course, forgot the promise I had made to Jesus, especially during my adolescence and the first years of my youth, but I think that Jesus never forgot it because he permitted me to remember it later.
The opportunity to fulfill the promise I had made to Jesus when I was a child arrived when I was 21 years old. I was engaged to marry a boy who had been my boyfriend for more than five years and we thought it was the right time for us to get married. But I did not feel well; there was something inside me that did not let me feel at peace. It was as if I were walking toward a new situation that was not for me, that would not make me happy. So my boyfriend and I talked about it and decided to go together to a retreat for young people who were planning to marry in the near future.
We went to the retreat, but he did not feel motivated to continue attending the course; I felt motivated to continue and finish the program. At the end of the week, we, the participants, were asked the direction we would take in the future and I, of course, said that I would have a commitment for service, but definitely not in marriage. This realization gave me for the first time a feeling of freedom, after a period in which I had felt uncertain. The result, of course, was that my marriage commitment was canceled, and that gave me even more happiness and freedom.
As a result of the certainty I felt after the retreat, I looked for a way to channel my desire to serve, so I entered a Biblical reflection youth group and a program to prepare myself for a ministry in the Church. I received preparation to go on a “mission” in poor places in my country, Mexico. I was a member of the young missioners’ group for two years. During that period I discovered that I could be very happy serving others, and this gave me new liberty, in an experience of adventure and service that I had never had before.
During the time that I was a young lay missioner, I remembered, or Jesus reminded me that I had promised Him that I would never marry and that I would be “his bride forever”. So I renewed that promise, in private of course, and that gave me peace and emotional stability, at least for a while.
At the bottom of my heart, I was not at peace, with time I realized that my need of God was not satisfied, but that it grew day by day. I went into a very deep crisis when I became aware that I wanted to have a full-time commitment with Jesus, but I still felt tied to various situations such as work, friendships, enjoyment and adventures; especially I felt tied to my family, more concretely, to my parents.
At this stage, God sent to my life a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The Sister was a gift from God to me; with her experience and her commitment, she helped me to discern what God wanted from me.
One day, when I was in an interview and after discussing my own situation and crying about it, the Sister asked me: “Leticia, do you believe in me? Do you think that I would speak truthfully to you? I said I did. From my faith, I considered that God had sent her to me. Then she told me: “Leticia, you have a vocation for religious life; Jesus, the Incarnate Word is calling you to serve Him, do you believe that? At that moment I realized that those were the words that my heart was yearning to hear and I answered with tears that I certainly believed that.
After the interview, I went into a preparation process which, although it was not easy at all, but rather difficult. After this process, I finally could enter religious life in the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, on September 5, 1985. I made my first profession on August 15, 1988; and I really trust that Jesus, the Incarnate Word may allow me to continue and finish my life in this world being “His forever”, until the end, and I hope He will allow you my readers, to pray for me.
On the header: Sister Leticia de Jesús Rodríguez, CCVI.