The second part of a blog series answering questions about the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, by Lisa Small
I was one of those teenagers who tried every fad. For a while it was the basketball look: Lakers basketball jacket and cap. Then it was the surf girl: only Ripcurl and Billabong labels. Another year it was the goth look: black clothing and a nose ring. I was constantly trying out different styles of dress, music and behavior, and it wouldn’t take long for me to get bored and look for something new. So after a few months of meeting Christ at the age of 17 and changing my life around, I wondered if that “fad” too would pass.
So, had I always wanted to be a nun? The answer is simply, no (and technically, I am not a nun – but I will explain that more in another blog). The thought had never crossed my mind growing up. I didn’t know any nuns and my image of them was from the movie “Sister Act”. I was an active and inquisitive child and I got into everything life had to offer – gymnastics, swimming, track, science fairs and math quizzes, debates and music. I wanted to live – to live life to the full.
Life changed drastically when my family decided to immigrate from South Africa to New Zealand. My idyllic childhood crashed into a turbulent adolescence. As a sensitive soul, I became withdrawn in my teenage years while at the same time doing everything I could to fit into this new culture with different social demands and expectations. That’s when the different fads began. I was longing and searching and nothing seemed to satisfy. My external behavior was far from religious and my relationship with God was non-existent.
So the weekend I first met Christ on a retreat during the sacrament of reconciliation, was a very pivotal moment in my life. I began to pray and had a desire to go to Mass and I changed what I did on weekends, who I did it with and how I approached school and others. I wanted to know God more and this passion began to grow. But would this too pass?
Years later when I look back on my childhood and teenage angst, I guess the seeds of my vocation were there, even if I never thought about being a nun. There is a video of me around Christmas time at the age of two pounding on the piano, attempting the tune of “Happy Birthday to Jesus.” Apparently my mom had to “steal” a song book from the parish because I would only settle down to sleep after we had sung some “church songs.” When I was eleven years old I started a club with my neighborhood friends to find the missing kids that we would see on milk cartons. We would run local bake sales and charge tickets to our original plays so that we could raise money for the starving kids in Africa (who lived literally at the end of our street).
So even though that spiritual sensitivity and big desires to change the world got snuffed out during my teenage years, God’s desire for me to belong completely to Him prevailed. The silent fear that the passion I experienced for God was unfounded. When God gives, His gifts are total and irrevocable. They last forever. Even now, almost twenty years since that encounter, He is still my true love and the One who calls to me each morning to rise and live life to the full. I am so grateful to have been led to this beautiful consecrated life that I can call my own.