The summer that I met the Home, I was 18 years old. I had just finished my first year of Fine Arts studies and I saw the faith as the rules that kept me from being happy, but that could save me. I was spiritually disoriented, but I had faith.
Even so, during the last year of my studies, I began to really suffer at the sight of the lack of coherence in which I was living and that I was incapable of maintaining myself in a state of grace. I was tied down to what I saw was wrong and incapable of freeing myself. But, as I barely ever prayed, where was I going to find strength? I think that the problem was that I didn’t see any alternative, a way of life that was pure and attractive.
I did begin to leave some things, and even I was surprised that I could. And yet, I was still far from seeing my faith as the only true source of freedom.
My first contact with the home was in the year 2000. I had just come through a very difficult spell a few months prior, a result of which was that I returned to the practice of my faith.
Coming across the Divine Mercy devotion and being drawn to practice it I had a real conversion where I experienced in a very personal way the infinite love which God has for each of us. This set me on a path which was a complete turn around from the one I was living previously. I was suicidally depressed and I didn’t know why, but now looking back, the reason was that I was so false and empty through living the illusion and the lies that the world presented to me as the path to follow. I was lost and without any life in me. Thanks be to God for pulling me out of the black hole I was in.
It was in this context, a few months after my conversion and having discerned that God was calling me to a life completely surrendered to Him, that I met Fr. Rafael, Fr. Felix, and (then) Br. Colum. They had come to England to talk about the Home, and a friend of mine, at whose house they were staying, invited me to meet them.
2003 - Age 16
2006 - Age 19
I must begin by saying that God never lets Himself be beat in generosity. He placed His merciful eyes on me and allowed me to form part of the gift for His Mother, the Home.
I was sixteen when I met the Home. I was studying in a school run by nuns and vacations came along. My brothers told me that they had seen some nuns dressed in white with a priest in a cassock. The part about the nuns seemed normal, but the priest was strange because we had only seen priests in cassocks in movies. I thought that they were the same nuns as the ones in my school, but I was wrong.
Later a friend of mine told me that some Spanish nuns had come to Chone and I remembered what my brothers had told me and yes, they were the same nuns.
If I speak about how I met the Home, I must first speak of how Sister Estela, my sister, first met the Home.
She had gone to some spiritual exercises led by Fr. Felix ( a Servant Priest of the Home of the Mother) at the end of 1995. Some of the Servant Sisters where there, working in the kitchen, and youngsters from the Home where there also, doing the exercises. She fell in love with its spirituallity, and came home really excited about it.
She belonged to the Charismatic Renewal, so I was quite used to hearing her speak about God. But I was much colder spiritually. I had left the sacraments for quite a while ago and the Lord had become Someone who, if He really existed, was too far away to be able to say anything about my life.
Ana M. Lapeña Parreño
We always define the Home as the gift which the Lord wishes to make to His Mother and the members of the Home feel that we are souls whom Our Mother has chosen for herself. I think that Our Mother chose me for herself when my parents consecrated me to Her when I was little, touching me to the mantle of Our Lady of the Pillar.
I do not remember who taught me how to pray three Hail Mary’s before going to bed. I learned the Hail Holy Queen from a teacher at school and I prayed it every night because I liked it, even though I didn’t understand it. I write this because I think that those first prayers were fundamental and, even though I didn’t understand what I said, Our Lady did not forget the “turn thine eyes of mercy towards us” nor the “pray for us sinners.”
Our Lord, in His merciful love, permitted me to meet the Home when I was 13 years old. It was through my sister Ana. She went to study social work at the university of Cuenca since she could not study this in the city where we are from, Ciudad Real. There, providentially, she ran into two candidates of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother who invited her to have lunch at their house one day, to go to a retreat, etc. To make a long story short, she fell in love with the Home, so much that, when she came home on the weekends, she couldn’t stop speaking about this Home which she had met. When she did so, the word home reminded me of the retired people’s home that was located close to my house where the “grannies” would go to play pool and have a good time.
How did I meet the home?...I would rather say that the Home met me. Let me explain! My father had been a great friend of Mamie since he was a child. He would spend all the free time he had in her home. She was at his wedding and when I was born, Mamie gave me a medal as a gift...And so, before I was even conscious of it, I already had a relationship with the seed buried and offered, whose fruit borne would be the Home. The Home was in my life even before it itself was born. How lucky I am, right?!
I only had to wait a little until I grew and I was sent to the camps. I still remember. We would be at home and my father would tell us, the two eldest, that he had been thinking of sending us to some camps in Cervera de Pisuerga (Spain). We were going to sleep in the mountains, in tents in the countryside...flashlights, hats, boots, camping supplies, hikes, going to the river, bugs....Grrreat! What joy it always gave us, seeing as we loved adventures!
Hello, I am Sr. Leticia Enriquez. The question is how I met the Home of the Mother? Well, I was born in the city of Toluca, Mexico. Everything began in ’98 when some friends of my family gave us a phone call, inviting us to go to a talk followed by a Mass in a Church in Mexico City (an hour and a half from where I lived). The talk would be given by a priest who was the founder of a religious order. He came from Spain together with Mother Ana and another sister. They would explain to us how the Home of the Mother began and what its missions were.
Some friends who belonged to the same groups as I (the Garden of Mary), together with my sisters and I, decided to go to meet them.
The first person I met was Fr. Rafael. I was studying in Our Lady of the Infants College in Toledo, and he was the Vice-Rector. At that time I was sixteen years old. I have to confess that at first I didn’t really like him. As we so often do, unfortunately, I let myself be led by the first impression.
Several of my friends and classmates began to attend the meetings that Fr. Rafael used to have every Saturday with young people. They invited me every week, but I resisted. They insisted so much that in the end I gave in. From the very first day I was attracted by the friendship and the welcome I received there. The subjects they discussed I also found interesting, but above all what drew me was the atmosphere. There were about thirty young people, boys and girls. There was a really good atmosphere.
In the year 1982 I was in my third year of High School in “El Greco”, Toledo. I was 16 years old. A classmate of mine, Rafa Samino, who had already participated in the summer-camps organized by Fr. Rafael, invited me to that year’s camp which took place in Valle de Cabuérniga, Cantabria, in the final weeks of July.
In the silence of those mountains, God was waiting for me. In the times we had for solitary prayer, I had my first experiences of the personal encounter with God. The discovery of a living God, really close, who knew me to the depths of my being and loved me, completely changed my Christian life, which was superficial and almost non-existent up to then. What put the ribbon on the experience was the four days we spent afterwards in Lourdes, where Our Lady began to win my heart with her motherly affection.
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A year ago Sr. Clare was invited to partake in the exposition “Young Witness of the Faith, the Saints Next Door.”