During this year dedicated to St. Joseph it’s a blessing for me to relive God’s call and my response. Reflecting on the life of St. Joseph I look back how God was speaking to me in various circumstances and leading me to come closer to Him and to love Him more.
My parents are very devout Catholics who taught me to love God and awakened in me the desire to follow His footsteps. As a child, they would tell me repeatedly, “Loving and serving God is the most important aspect of Christian living.” May be true, the continuous whispers of my parents, made the seeds of vocation grow in my mind, the result of which I said YES to His call.
I did my schooling in a catholic school run by the Servite sisters. Often, I had the possibility to accompany the sisters in their ministries such as service to the sick, distributing the Holy communion to the elderly, caring for the youth and children. In a way step by step, I was getting inclined to religious life. Along with my parents, the school ambient, Rev. Fr. Antony Raj, my parish priest also supported, helped, and encouraged me to grow in the love of God.
“I have died for you, what have you done for me?” are the words I often read in my village parish church. These words made me both to reflect and to question myself: “what am I going to give to God who gave me His life for my salvation?” My answer was that there is no greater gift that I can give to Jesus than offering my life for His glory.
Slowly as I began to excel in sports, dance, studies and other extra-curricular activities, my teachers and friends discouraged me and warned me not to become a nun. I found myself amidst two realities, on one hand I wished to offer my life to God, on the other I could see that I was outshining in all and there was scope for me in the world to climb the highest steps of achievement and success.
Like Joseph, often I found myself in dilemma, in bewilderment and in confusion. Not knowing which path to choose. My search to be someone was a continuous process. At one time I would feel to follow Jesus and in the next moment it would shift. A deeper question kept haunting me, “I may excel and become a great person in the sight of the world, but before God, what will I be?” A similar thought of St. Ignatius of Loyola, “What does it profit to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of one’s soul?” The dilemma continued for some more time. At a particular point, I decided to follow Jesus, when one of my classmates aroused in me the desire to be a missionary.
I began to question myself, what is a missionary life? Isn’t it enough to become a nun to answer God’s call? What is special about missionary vocation? How can I serve God by being a missionary? The word “missionary” went deep into my heart and created ripples within.
At right time, Sr. Jeya Mary Soosaipillai makes entry to our school, for vocation animation. The first word she uttered was: “We are the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate”. As soon as I heard the word Missionary, I told to myself, “this is the congregation to which the Lord is calling me.” I approached her and expressed my desire to join the congregation, but before that I cleared my doubts on being a missionary and serving God in distant land. The spark begun and I would keep it burning.
That’s how I landed up in our MSI Institute. The goodness of Jesus has no boundaries, today I am serving as a missionary in Hong Kong. It’s a dissimilar experience to serve Jesus in one’s own Country and to serve Him in an unknown Country. Truly! The Apostolic Spirit that we the MSI have imbibed from PIME makes us “essentially and exclusively missionaries, missionaries in the truest, most sublime and complete sense of the Word.”
Sr. Hilda Joseph, Hongkong