This uncertainty brought me to a state where I had had enough. Feeling that the Lord had abandoned me, I stopped thinking about religious life. Funnily enough, at that moment I was working in a retreat centre, giving a retreat to various kinds of people, and helping them to come closer to God. But for me, I felt as if I was being dragged further away from God. I denied that I had a vocation, trying to convince myself that God just wanted me to serve him in an ordinary life. “What do you EXACTLY want in your life? How are you going to live your life to its fullness? Are you satisfied with your life now?” were the questions that echoed in my private space. I know that my denial of having a vocation to religious life did not help me in answering that question.

In this midst of despair, somewhere in a quiet evening of 2012 while working with a laptop in front of me, I know that I need to make a decision with my life. I know there are many choices which I can make to have a decent and normal life. But yet, this desire keeps on bugging me; the desire to live a contemplative life. So I thought to myself, “Okay, that’s it! I have to make my decision!” I put my head down on the table and said: “Lord, you know who I am and you know that I love you. Help me to ‘live’…Now, I am going to go to the internet and open some contemplative orders’ websites. If there is something that disturbs my heart, then I know that it is your will for me to live as a contemplative, and that I need to take it seriously.”

And so I did. When I visited several websites, I cried in my heart for denying the vocation and especially for keeping God waiting. The black veil, the white habit, the Divine Office book, and the smile of those people who lived in the monastery… everything seemed to be calling. Then it seemed clear to me that this is what God really wanted from me and that I needed to be serious this time to respond to him. I traced back my list of choices. The best thing for me to do was to leave my country, to leave my comfort zone and let God work his plan in me. That was when I came across the Bernardines’ website. I made contact with them and Sr.Maria (who is now my novice mistress) replied, telling me to come and stay with them for a while and from there we continued the discernment process.

(to be concluded in part 4)