vocation stories | ELENA
My family is the first environment in which I ‘breathe’ God – my parents’ style of life, their mindset, and their choices have always mirrored a deep love for God and the Church. The parish that I was involved in soon became my second family. In the first few years, I was taught many things. Growing up, I “switched” position since they asked me to become a teacher. I was required to give a strong Catholic formation to the children and teenagers that were entrusted to me.
How could I ever reach this level of helping other young people to grow in their relationship with God? There are four significant events that mark my teenage years. First, when I was 14, I went to a Catholic summer camp with Catholic Action. For the first time, I realized that God was really present in my life and loved me. From that moment on, everyday I started praying the Liturgy of the Hours, reading a passage of the Gospel, and spending some time in meditation.
A year following that summer experience, I started to meet with a priest on a regular basis for spiritual direction. I can never be grateful enough to God and to Fr. Gianni for blessing me with such a precious gift. His presence at my side helped me to be persevering and consistent in my spiritual journey.
Subsequently, during my senior year in high school, I had an encounter that became a turning point in my life. During the religion class (in Italy, all the state schools have an hour of religion class per week as part of the syllabus), the Apostles of the Interior Life were invited to talk to us students about their experience and their apostolate. I had already met many consecrated women before that time, but what struck me so much that morning was their happiness and joy. I was curious and definitely wanted to know more. I asked Sr. Susan to talk. Later on the very same day, as I was praying I felt a strong intuition: the Lord was calling me to be one of them. I took a year of discernment but that one intuition never left. In fact it grew stronger.
Four months later, over the summer, a young man (who seemed “perfect”) came into the picture and I spent more and more time with him. We clicked right away. We decided not to date since I was discerning but we grew in friendship. I was a little confused. On one hand, it seemed that God’s Providence was placing this guy on my path; on the other hand, he had put into my heart and mind the desire for consecration.
As time went by, through prayer, I came to realize more and more that my deepest desire, what was going to make me truly happy was a life of total self-gift to God – God alone was enough! My spiritual director helped me to find out which decision was the best fit for me. I wanted to spend my life doing spiritual apostolate, helping people to grow in their interior life. In September of 1996, sixteen months after my first meeting with Sr. Susan, I left my hometown in Northern Italy to go to Rome to begin my formation to become an Apostle of the Interior Life.
Words cannot express my gratefulness to God for providing me with such a beautiful vocation. I’m experiencing daily the reward that God has promised to all those who will leave everything for Him, and it goes beyond any human expectation and wish.