When I was 17 years old, a chance meeting with someone changed my life. One evening, a young American sister, Susan, approached me. From that moment on, a deep friendship was born between us. Susan was in Rome because she met an Italian priest, who is now the founder of our community. In the course of our first conversation, she asked me “Do you know what the purpose of your life is?” I had pondered this question many times in the past, but it was always an unsolved mystery. Immediately, I asked her the same question in return. Her response was, “The goal of your life is to become a saint.” At that time, I had a false concept of sanctity. Now I know that to be a saint means to be the best version of oneself. When God creates someone, He has a plan for this person. To do God’s will is to do what makes one really happy. Therefore, to do God’s will is to do our will purified from selfishness. “How can I know God’s plan for me?” I asked. She answered, “Ask God. Start praying.” Susan taught me how to meditate upon God’s Word. Since then, I dedicated half an hour each day to meditation and I started to attend daily Mass as well. Gradually, my life changed.
A year following my “conversion,” I met my soul mate at a friend’s house. We started dating. On the one hand, I was very happy; on the other hand, after our dates, when I returned home, I felt as though I had wasted precious hours of my life. I felt drawn to and admired people who renounced marriage in order to give themselves completely to God. At the same time, I felt very attached to my Prince Charming. Later on, I was struck by a book of St Ignatius of Loyola. He said that an essential requisite to make a decision in accordance with God’s plan was interior indifference. This meant a disposition to complete openness to whatever God has in store. One can understand his/her vocation only if he/she is free from prejudices, preconceived ideas and self-interest. One has to be able to tell God with complete sincerity, “Lord, do with my life whatever pleases you – it matters not whether you want me to get married or be a nun.” I realized that I didn’t in the least bit have this interior indifference. One night these words came to my heart – “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29). Those words pierced my heart. I thought: “I should break up with my boyfriend for a while, in order to reach interior indifference. Jesus will either let me meet this same guy again, or He will let me meet another guy a hundred times better (he did promise a hundred times more on earth, right?). Therefore, why should I fear to break this bond?
I promised Jesus that I would leave my love as soon as possible. Shortly after, I understood that Jesus was calling me to be His spouse. How did I understand that?
I simply saw the passing of my days and understood that time is very short and each one of us has a mission to accomplish. The more I prayed, the more I was aware of the number of people that were deprived of the light of God. My desire to dedicate myself wholly to them became impelling.
I wanted to spend my time in prayer, in learning about the things of God and in helping my neighbor spiritually.