I did not choose God; He chose me and I said yes

By Sister Elena Isabel de Jesus

Hello, my name is Sister Elena Isabel de Jesus. I’m 34 years old and I’m from Dallas, Texas, and I am Mexican-American. Now, I am a religious sister of the congregation called Misioneras de María Formadora. I had my calling to serve the Lord 11 years ago.

I come from a religious family: my uncle is a priest and my aunt is a Missionary Sister like me. You might think that’s where I got my vocation. Well, it had a lot to do with it, but that wasn’t the reason.

When I was younger, I was an inexperienced young adult. I only thought about having fun. I wanted to travel the world and do lots of things. I lived every day to the fullest like there was no tomorrow. But as I grew older and time passed by, I felt half empty; I felt like something was missing.

One day, the Missionary Sisters of Maria Formadora came to my parish. They were promoting their vocations. I accompanied my aunt to see their presentation. As I watched a video of their missionary work around the different countries they had been, my heart started pounding so hard that I thought it was going to come out of my chest. When the video finished, I went up to one of the sisters and very excitedly told her that I wanted to be just like them, that I wanted to become a sister. Oh, you should have seen the look on her face: she looked surprised, but smiled happily. On the other hand, when I realized what I had done, I ran out of that room as fast as I could and didn’t dare to turn back. It was scary to even think about entering the convent. I thought, how foolish of me to have said that.

So, for a while, I didn’t do anything about the situation, but that didn’t stop the Lord from calling me every day to join him. As time passed by, I realized that this was what God wanted me to do, though I didn’t have the courage to say yes.

The day came to say yes to God and move to wherever I was needed. At first, I used to say that I left everything behind for him, that I left my “life,” my family and my home sweet home in Texas. But, as the years went by, I realized that I didn’t leave anything behind, that my home is wherever God sends me. My family is every single person I work with, everyone that I encounter every single day no matter what part of the world I am in.

I know now, for a fact, that I was born to be a religious sister; that I did not choose God, He chose me and I said yes. I said here I am Lord, do whatever you wish with me. I will go wherever He needs me. I know for a fact, I wouldn’t change my vocation for anything in the world. So, all I can say to you who are reading this: don’t ever be afraid to say yes to God because with God you have everything. He is all you need!

Sister Elena Isabel de Jesus, a Missionary Sister of Maria Formadora, ministers at Saint Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish in Hammonton.