“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in travail! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her that is married, says the Lord. Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitation be stretched out; hold not back, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.”
+ St. Emilia, patron saint of Mothers, pray for us! +
As I began the journey, when I was about 12, of discerning religious life, the one thing I could not get past, was not whether I could live without an earthly spouse (because after all, we are all seeking for the eternal marriage to the Lamb), but whether or not I could give up the call of a woman’s heart…the call that the Lord fashioned into a woman…the call of “motherhood.”
In time, I discerned that I was being called to at least enter religious life and see what my heart felt over a time of experiencing the fulfillment of religious life. Even though I have discerned that I was called to leave and discern marriage, I am so grateful for the gift of experiencing years of monastic life. I experienced the beautiful aching pain of living a life of celibacy, for a marriage to the Bridegroom; while also experiencing a bleeding heart, which yearned for my own children…but seeing that ache fulfilled by other people’s children…ah the JOY!
Growing up, I was blessed to witness my mother setting the example of spiritual motherhood as well as biological. That woman could love! If I can learn to be half of the person she was, I will feel like I have achieved great strides! When she passed, I experienced motherhood for the first time with all of my siblings, but most especially the youngest who was only 2 weeks old.
Over time, the Lord would fill my heart with so many children to love. I was blessed to be a nanny/babysitter before religious life, and came to love these children in a special way. Then, as a sister, the Lord blessed me abundantly with so many special children to love. I love all children greatly, but there were those particular children that the Lord placed in a special spot, deep in my heart. The love for them continues to grow and stretch my heart as time goes on. Since coming back from religious life, in May of this year, I have begun to nanny and be blessed with yet more children to love.
Now, I am preparing to leave for a mission trip to India. To spend almost 5 months living with and loving the “orphans” at SCH (who ultimately are not orphaned, for God promised He would never leave us orphaned), but children who are patiently awaiting their forever family to come and take them home. While I am here- preparing all the documents, funds, immunizations, etc. for my journey- my heart already loves and aches to hold and love the little ones’ who are waiting for me to come.
May we all, whether biologically or spiritually, learn what it is to love a child as our own!
In a conversation Venerable Archbishop Luis Martinez had with his spiritual daughter, Venerable Conchita, he said to her,
“You, too, like Jesus, must love the Father on behalf of all your children [she had 9 of her own] and for all the souls that God has linked with you through the outstanding grace of spiritual maternity. In order to be a mother of souls, you must love on their behalf, as Jesus loved on behalf of all.”
~To be Jesus Crucified, Ven. Martinez~