Alcalá de Guadaíra, Seville, Spain
I am Zenaida Fernández, mother of Pablo and Diego, two true gifts given to me by the Lord. I live in Alcalá de Guadaíra in Seville, Spain. I am a neonatal nurse by profession, and by the grace of God, also a “Lay Member of the Home of the Mother.” I got to know the Home of the Mother when I would go to the Shrine of Nuestra Señora del Águila, patroness of my village, to pray to her during the novenas or to ask her for advice. The Servant Sisters overturned the idea I had of nuns up until then. Their youthfulness, joy, and the poverty of their habit caught my attention. Our Blessed Mother knows when to call her children and when the right moment is, and I suppose that it happens when they look for her with all of their heart. She knows what each one needs to live and experience, even though this may occur far from the house of God.
I stopped going to Church and receiving the sacraments, but I always had God present in my heart. As my family says, I have a rebellious and nomadic spirit, and I don’t stay put in the same place for very long. Now, I know that the Lord places a hunger and a thirst in His creatures, which nothing in this world can satisfy except for Him. There are people, like in my own case, who need Him as much as the air they breathe. Through an old friend that I got to know in Nursing School, I discovered a lot about what is known as New Age. A large part of my life I spent going to courses on personal growth, overcoming self, astrology, mineralogy, numerology, Thai chi, yoga… going in circles about myself, like a hamster in its cage. All of this increased my confusion, while at the same time the contents of my pocket decreased. Other friends of mine introduced me to a Reiki master. I couldn’t pass the first level because I wasn’t good enough. I had some common sense because instead of invoking a series of symbols that I had to learn, I invoked St. Michael the Archangel. As the spiritual deafness decreased, I was able to listen to the voice of the Blessed Mother calling me. When I would go to a meeting about meditation and silence that many people celebrated in Catalonia, a few days prior to it, I would go to Our Lady of Montserrat to spend time with her and to listen to the Gregorian chants of the Benedictine monks and the Cathedral choir, which elevated my spirit; or I would go to Fatima to spend some of my vacation time by her side.
In the Home of the Mother, I finally understood why I didn’t fit into any group. How could I fit in? It was neither my place nor my kind of people.
There are many things that I lived that I still don’t understand, but I’m not in a rush because Our Blessed Mother will go showing me when she sees that it’s the right time. I have one thing clear: it is she who crushes the head of the serpent. He can do nothing against us – nothing, and it’s something that I’ve experienced by the grace of God.
Finally, the moment arrived for my return home. The first thing that the Blessed Mother restored to me was a fresh memory. She returned to me my dignity as a child of God when I was lost, and that gave me tremendous strength and the motivation I needed to start again. I frequently went to visit the Shrine of Nuestra Señora del Águila, and I felt like she spoke to me. She didn’t use words, but when I left, I knew exactly what I had to do. I didn’t miss a day of the novena in the summer, and during that week I received more instructions than I needed. I realized how great my ignorance was about my own religion! I could barely remember my prayers. I had to begin again. It was very clear to me that I had to form myself, and with that said, I signed up at the San Isidro and San Leandro Superior Institute of Religious Sciences in Seville for a course called “Seminary of Lay Studies – The Christian life open to political, social, and cultural commitment.”
Our Blessed Mother led me to her own Home. It’s a privilege that I am whole-heartily thankful for every day. One summer, after the novena to Our Blessed Mother, my dear [friend] Ángeles, lay member of the Home, invited me to one of their meetings. It didn’t take much for me to realize right away that it was my place, my family, my house, my HOME, and above all, where my Mother wanted me to be. I have heard a lot during my lifetime about reincarnation. Of course, I don’t believe in it, although I am certain that I have died and been born more than once but… in this life, and that reminds me of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus. On my return home, I have gone through another kind of Hell: even if it was only in my mind, and another kind of Purgatory: when my Father left me in times of [spiritual] dryness and waiting; and even though I have not deserved it, also little bits of Heaven.