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Lay Members of the Home of the Mother (L.H.M.)The goal of the Lay Members is to reach holiness for the glory of God, under the maternal protection of Mary. This vocation is born within the Church of the service of the Church. The principles by which they are guided spring forth from the mystery of Christ and His Gospel, as the Church believes, interprets and preaches.

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I feel very iden- tified with the lost sheep in the parable of the Good Shepherd: I feel that the Lord has saved me. My name is Fina. I live in Macael, though I am from Lijar, a town not too far from here. I am mar- ried and have three children and one granddaughter. Now that I am starting to grow clos- er to the Lord, I can say that my life used to be empty be- cause the Lord and Our Lady were not present. I guess that is not surprising, because we never spoke about the Church or God or the Virgin Mary in my family. Many people say their grandmother is the one who taught them about the faith, but not even my grand- mother prayed the Rosary. My family was Catholic but did not practice.

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I went through a time in my life when I experienced more thorns than roses, and I think the Lord was already preparing me to seek my refuge in Him, to find His consolation and love. I started going to Mass. I even became a catechist when I was 16 years old. But that little step did not last long. I got married, had three children, and then to- tally distanced myself from the faith, to the point that I stopped going to Mass, if I remember correctly. After all this, I only went to Mass when my children made their First Communion. They received the sacraments because they reached that age, but neither they nor I really expe- rienced the sacraments as what they really are—I couldn’t communicate that to them because I wasn’t living it in my own life. Now this really saddens me, be- cause now I am conscious of the great miracle that occurs in the sacraments. But I repeat that the Lord was there, desirous to save His lost sheep! My God! His Love and Mercy are so great! He uses something that happens to you in your life to remind you of Him, to say to you, “Hey! Here I am! I died for you to save you, because I love you and want to help you!”

He used a very painful situa- tion in my life to bring me closer to Him. I felt that I needed Him; my deep longing for God grew more and more, a longing to know Him, to know everything about Him. From that moment on, I couldn’t miss one day of Mass. I must say that my parish priest helped me a lot. This en- counter with God took place on Pentecost; I know that the grace of the Holy Spirit came down on me, and there I began my path in the faith. The parish priest gave a talk that day and I participated by sharing my experience, which in itself is unusual because I am not especially eloquent. I do not know what happened, but something pushed me to speak. I did not speak about experienc- ing a conversion on that occa- sion, but I explained that my life was changing. Everything I said came from my heart. To this day I think about that experience and can barely believe it.

Still, something was miss- ing, and that something was Our Lady. How did she reach my life? By sending the Home of the Mother to our parish! The Home of the Mother is the gift Our Lord wanted to give to His Mother and also to me! Our par- ish priest told us that a commu- nity of Sisters was coming to our parish, and I honestly expected some elderly nuns—I had nev- er seen such young nuns be- fore. So a group of ladies from the parish started working like crazy to prepare their house for them, with a lot of joy and af- fection. I remember when I saw them for the first time: I was in the Church, in front of the taber- nacle, and when they walked in, what a surprise! They were spe- cial, different than what I imag- ined, with big smiles, full of joy, with an ivory white habit.

From the first moment I felt something special; they trans- mitted so much joy. With the Home of the Mother, my life began to change once again. The Home teaches me who Our Lady is. Now I see her as a Mother who loves me, a Mother who is full of humility, who suf- fers in silence and accepts ev- erything out of love for Jesus, who always has her arms open to embrace us. I have also learned how important it is to pray the rosary every day.

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With the Home I have lived (and continue to live) so many happy moments, with the weekly meetings, encoun- ters with other members of the Home, retreats, etc. Everything is so helpful in the Home. The Home is a school where I never stop learning what I should be like, how I should treat others. I have learned that our goal is heaven, and we should make an effort to come closer to that goal every day. I love ev- erything about the Home: the love for the Eucharist, for Our Lady, the humility, the surren- der. I know that I am just be- ginning, that I have so much to learn, that I still continue to fall, but I put myself in the hands of God and Our Mother, so that, with their help, I can reach my goal: heaven. And last of all, I would like to thank Our Mother for having put in my life her Son’s gift for her: THE HOME OF THE MOTHER. “THANKS, MOTHER MARY!”

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