How did my vocation begin? For that I must talk about the environment where I come from. I am from San Martin Nueva Cajamarca – Second Jerusalem. I come from a mostly Protestant family. Since I was a child, both me and my siblings were taken to the Pentecostal Church, we had to go to their groups every Sunday and I also studied in their school.

As I grew up, I believed that they were the only ones and that there was no other church. Although my grandparents on my mother’s side were Catholics and they invited us to attend the Catholic Church, but I was never attracted to it. The Pentecostals usually baptize the person when he/she is of age, and the young person must choose in which church he/she wants to be baptized. Thus, my siblings and I were not baptized. I grew up in that environment, until I was 12 or 13 years old, I was very close to this church, I practiced the Pentecostal fasts, I attended their worship, etc. But when I reached that age I began to rebel, I no longer attended Sunday school, nor other events. I practically did not attend any church, I was becoming a pagan, I did not believe in anything. And if sometimes I attended it was because at school they lowered our grades in the religion course, I didn’t like to go because they prohibited us from everything, and I liked to be an independent young woman.

When I was in the 4th grade of high school, they accepted a Catholic teacher for the religion course at the Protestant school. She was very good, she encouraged us to pray, with her I learned to pray the Our Father, and in this year, I dared to tell my dad that I wanted to be baptized. My father said yes, but not in the Catholic Church, only when I was older I would decide where to be baptized. For me it was a tremendous pain, because I would remain that way, as a simple creature of the Lord.

That same year, my aunt invited me to the Catholic Church, for Christmas, to see the living nativity they perform every year. I went, but I only watched from the door and nothing else. There I could see that people were coming to receive communion at the Holy Mass, so I was curious to know what people feel when they receive communion. When I got home I asked, and they told me that only those who are baptized receive it. Then I thought “I will never receive it”. Well, that’s where it all ended because my dad didn’t like us talking about it. At the age of 15, when a teenager thinks he can do anything, I felt bored and I just wanted to go out, be with my friends, have fun, and not go home. At that time, I was a heathen, I didn’t have the innocence of a child, I didn’t know what to do with myself. My mother prayed for me, as did St. Monica, for St. Augustine. One day she said “I am capable of giving my life for my children”. How brave my mother is!

In 2013, I heard that some little sisters arrived looking for young women with vocational restlessness, among whom was my cousin and some other young women. I had told my cousin that I wanted to meet them, nothing more, because I didn’t know what the Little Sisters were, I didn’t even know what a convent was. My cousin told the Mothers about a young girl and gave them my home address. We were in my house with my grandmother, when I see some little sisters come up to us, and ask about the Sanchez family, we told them it was us. I got scared when they asked for me, for my name. I told them with a little fear: “I am”. We went to my house, and my dad didn’t say anything, he just greeted them. He let the Mothers settle in, but he went out to work and didn’t come back until the evening. At first, I told my mother that I would never go to the Convent for three reasons: 1º I was not a Catholic. 2º I was not baptized. 3º My father did not want me to.

I told the mothers that I would think about it. During those days my father said nothing about it, but he was investigating on his own what a convent was like. Then my dad came saying that the little sisters lie, that they cheat and that they are disguised. I told my father: “the little sisters cannot lie because in that case they would not talk about God”, and I went to look for the Mothers. They explained to me that it was not like that, so I decided to go with them.

The next day, the little sisters came to my house, my mother cried and said that my father didn’t want to know anything, that he should think about it some more. I wanted to know what the convent was like. And I told my dad, “I want to go”. The Mothers began to talk about the mission, and my dad was softening his heart. Then he said, “But my daughter is not Catholic, she is not baptized.” The Mothers said they would talk to a Father. To this day I don’t understand how my dad gave me permission. The next day, we went to Mass for the first time, only my mother accompanied me. I didn’t know how to do anything, and I did everything the Mothers did. After Mass we went to talk to Father, who agreed and promised to pray a lot for me. We returned home with the news. My father was sad and so were my brothers and sisters, but I felt stronger.

The big day of the trip arrived. At the agency, they did not want to let me travel because I was a minor. Thank God they accepted me. It was only on the way that I started to cry, and I wanted to go back. I wanted to tell the Mothers, but I remembered what they told me at home: “If you leave, go for at least a year”. I also remember my family telling me not to believe in saints. The latter was impossible, because thanks to their intercession I am still here. So I was baptized in the Convent on Easter Sunday. The next day I received my first communion, and on the feast of Christ the King, my confirmation.

For me, vocation is an undeserved gift that God gives to whomever he wants. And the only thing we have to do is to say: “Here I am Lord, to do your will”.

Madre Abigail, Perú.

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