Praised be Jesus Christ!
Who do you want to be when you grow up? I started to ponder this question when I was about eleven years old. My best friends and I were often playing games and trying to figure out our futures. As the oldest of four children, I enjoyed my family life with my parents and grandparents. I grew up in the southeast part of Poland in a little village where almost everyone owned and worked on a family run farm. I played with my friends, took care of my younger siblings, and helped out my mom at home and on the farm. I especially relished watching over the cows in the field. I loved to be in the fields where I had plenty of time to sing, pray, read, and think, “Who do I want to be?”
I always cherished family life and imagined myself as a wife and stay at home mom of four, five, or six children. I also thought about having a profession, and the most appealing for me was dancing and modeling. I loved dancing and watching shows on fashion and design. But, I learned that one day I would have to retire. Deep in my heart I desired to be someone who never steps down and stays at her post to the last breath. The answer came during Faith Formation class. One day our catechist, Fr. Pastor, introduced us to a young, happy priest in a white cassock. It was a religious priest working as a missionary in Congo, Africa. Since that day I knew that I want to be someone like him. I consider this meeting as a pivotal event in my life in regards to my religious life. I didn’t have any perception of consecrated life, except that I sensed it as a vocation to offer oneself totally to God and neighbor.
Since that time my personal relationship with Jesus and the Blessed Mother grew stronger. I became much more involved in our church as a lector, cantor, and a member of our youth group. I helped with training young children for Corpus Christi, preparing Eucharistic Adoration, and prepared special prayer services. Slowly, Jesus became a very important Person in my life. For instance, I enjoyed many social events during middle school, but the longing for the daily Eucharist was stronger. Sometimes during a social I used to slip away for the evening Holy Mass. Thanks to the gentle guidance of my Fr. Pastor I got to learn about various religious communities.
When I was in eighth grade one of my girlfriends shared with me an invitation for a “Come and See” retreat with the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ. I went with her out of curiosity. I wanted to know how the Sisters really lived and what they looked like. Our Foundress, Mother Paula Sophia Tajber, writes, “Whoever wears a religious habit must have a heart of gold and a soul like the sun that enlightens, warms, and motivates life.” It was that joy and warmth that drew me to the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ. After the retreat, deep in my heart I knew that this was the life I was longing for. I left the Sisters with the words, “I will be back.” I came and shared my desire with my parents, but they said that I was too young for that decision. So, I finished the eighth grade thinking that I have to be older to answer Jesus’ call.
After graduating from middle school I was accepted to a boarding nursing high school. During summer vacation I went to another “Come and See” retreat with the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ. When I was leaving home my mom said, “Goodbye, but please come back!” I jokingly answered, “Maybe I will be back?” It was during that retreat that I met Sisters working as missionaries in Cameroon, Africa and decided to speak with the Mother General of the Community to ask for acceptance.
I was fourteen and half when I joyfully announced to my astonished parents that I was accepted by the Sisters. With tears in my eyes I begged them for their permission and a blessing. My parents were speechless. I didn’t persuade them, just gave them the facts and time. I spent time in prayer, hoping that their answer would be “Yes.” And it happened! On Saturday, August 22, 1993 my whole family drove me to Cracow to the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ. That was twenty-two years ago. During that time I went through a timely formation. First, as a candidate and a high school student, next a postulant, then a novice, and later as a sister during temporary vows studying in college and working as a catechist. Finally, after all those years of formation and prayer, with a heart full of love and hope, I came to a conclusion, that Jesus is the Person with whom I want to grow old with, and that I want to start my eternity now. On Sunday, August 1, 2004 during the Eucharist, I vowed to the Triune God to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the Constitutions of our Community. On that day of my final profession I was surrounded by my joy-filled parents, siblings, extended family, and friends. Since that day, with grateful heart and relying on His assistance, I follow Jesus, my Divine Spouse.
I would like to end with words of the Lord which often come to my mind, “Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of My name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life” (Mt 19:29). I can tell that this is true. From the time I said “yes” to Jesus, He has always surrounded me with people who are as dear and loving as a father, a mother, siblings, or spiritual children would be. Additionally, He has given me another homeland, the United States of America.