by: Sr. Antonieta Napone,tc
When God calls you, He also provides everything you need if you only open yourself, be available, and willingly entrust your life to Him with the certainty of being loved in return.
I have worked for almost 27 years and have a house of my own, and comfortably lived alone. During summer, I used to travel to beautiful places with my friends as part of my vacation. But still, I find myself lacking something. I have some longing which I didn’t know what it was.
One day, a friend of mine who is a member of the YOS (Year of Service) program, invited me to visit a place wherein the description aroused my interest, and wanted to be there.
I arrived in a place away from the city but still part of Bacolod City. A sister named Sr. Letty of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family met me and brought me to Holy Family Home, Bacolod, a Protection and Rehabilitation Center that they are managing.
My experience during that visit awakened me and changed my life forever. It reminded me of my dream long ago, to work in an orphanage. It also brought me back to all my experiences with scholars I was in charged of. They were young students of the different Universities of Cagayan de Oro.
I prayed for my decision and had a three-day retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House in Bukidnon. I told my mother and my siblings about my decision to go to Bacolod and work with the Sisters as a volunteer. All of them disagreed and did not like the idea of leaving my place and my home. The more that they stopped me, the more I wanted to go for my heart at that time was so restless as if I was so much in love that nobody can stop me. I left my house to a friend but later my Sister-in-law stayed there together with my nieces who were in College.
I finally arrived in Bacolod and was assigned as an Educator (House Parent) of the College students. I worked with them for four years until I joined the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters. I had an interview with the General Superior who luckily attended the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the presence of the Congregation in the Philippines (Asia). I was accepted and my formation began.
I had my Postulancy in Cebu City, so I had to ask Gina, a friend of mine, to replace me as Educator of the College Girls. It was in the formation that I fully and strongly experienced the love of God. It was the love and mercy of God that strengthened me during the difficult moments. He showed His guidance and direction through my Formators and the support of my companions. The prayers of the Sisters made it all possible for me to overcome all those hardships since I entered in my advance age. I entered at 55 years old. Yes! God will do the rest and it’s only for me to do my best despite of so many limitations.
After 2 years, I had my first profession, which was witnessed by my mother and my siblings. I thank the Lord for the great favor He has done to me. Most of all, I can truly say – Lord I am yours and He can say “You are mine; you did not choose me, I chose you. His love endures and is forever, it never ends.”