In the year of 2000, my family and I arrived to California. Then I studied Business Administration and worked as an accountant. During this time, I had a lot of dreams. I wanted to become a successful business woman. I wanted to get married. Time went by; my long-distance relationship with a friend whom I met in school didn’t work.

I was desperate, sad, and in pain. Somehow, I felt drawn to go back to the Church. One person mentioned of a prayer group, I went there for praise and worship and Bible sharing. After prayer meeting, I went home searching and learning about the Catholic faith and stories of the Saints. Also, I started changing my routines. I attended daily Mass. I prayed the rosary. I went to adoration after work. I read a lot of books, and one of them had big impact on my vocation. The book was called, “The Way of the Divine Love.”

Eventually, in 2010, I decided to discern my religious vocation.

Summer 2011, I arrived to Houston. Sister Kathleen Smith, CCVI, one of the co-founders of the Catholic Charismatic Center brought me there for Sunday Mass. Even I had been involved with the Charismatic Renewal movement, I didn’t like the idea of praising in tongue before Mass. So, I was reluctant to go to the Center.

Interestingly, on September 29, 2011, to celebrate my Feastday, I went to the Center on my own accord. That night, I was lead to surrender my life to the Lord. He then moved powerfully in my life. I read all the books written by Father Bob Bedard. I attended the Faith in the Fire retreat. I grew spiritually and emotionally. But I wasn’t ready for a “Come and See” with the Servants of the Cross until a year later.

My “Come and See” with this community was nothing special. What do I mean by that? Because I had expected big moments with God, such as: “Penelope, I want you to join this community.” There was no extraordinary illumination moment. However, I sensed the possibility of joining a Canadian community. Being aware that I have grown a lot since I knew of the Companions, I put all fears and concerns aside, and I made a leapt of faith. I said “Yes.” A few days later, I experienced such a profound joy and deep peace in my heart. I was happy to share with other people about the spirituality and mission of the Companions also of the Servants of the Cross.

Two years of Applicancy passed by. It contained many blessings. I don’t want to give you an impression that it is heaven-like to live with other women who have different personalities, especially when you are new. But I see it like this: Here, in this community, I have everything. God is here. Love is here. We all allow God to work in us. With me, those difficult moments were precious opportunities for me to rely on God. It was a time of healing and of growth.

On September 15, 2015, I made my First Promises and became a member of the Servants of the Cross. How have I been? If I could sum up into one word: TRANSFORMATIONAL. The Lord continues his powerful work in me. I am grateful for my vocation within the Companions family. I feel free and blessed.

That is part of my vocation story. Now, it is your turn, my brothers and sisters. As we are all called to be close to Jesus, would you please first consider a vocation to consecrated life or priesthood?

One Scripture passage which has helped me to trust in God’s goodness and providence despite challenges was found in Malachi 3:10

See, I am open the floodgates of heaven and pour down upon you and your family blessing without measure.

Yes, as I have decided to follow the Lord no matter what, I am blessed beyond belief…

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