When I began to read Come be My Light: The Private Writings of Mother Teresa three years ago, I had no idea that the Lord would use those writings to radically change the entire course of my life. After reading the work, my heart burned with the desire to serve the poor, suffering, and vulnerable just as Mother Teresa did, and I began to search for a way to serve Jesus. Franciscan University of Steubenville, from which I am graduating this May, has a robust mission program, and that year, 2008-2009, I had the opportunity to serve on the FUS catechetical mission to Belize with fifteen other students. There we taught religion and gave purity talks at several high schools. The experience in Belize planted the seed of openness to long-term mission work, so much so that I returned to Belize in May 2010 with another missionary to work with the same students and strive to be a presence of consistent love to the teens. Following the second mission to Belize, the Lord opened my eyes more deeply to what it means to serve as a missionary, with all of the sacrifices and struggles, and my heart longed for those sacrifices and that ability to be a constant presence of love.
I recently returned from leading a mission trip to Nicaragua this March in which myself and nine other college peers served at an orphanage for mentally and physically disabled children as well as spending some time with the children living in the Managua City Garbage Dump. The Lord filled my heart with a profound and abiding peace from the moment I set foot in the orphanage. Throughout the week, He not only deeply confirmed the call to serve with Heart’s Home, but also opened my eyes to radical poverty and sufferings, the like of which I have never seen. There I found that my heart longs for and is truly at peace in the simplicity of total giving of self, of embracing poverty, and loving until your heart hurts. As Catholic singer Danielle Rose beautifully wrote: “Love until it hurts, until we feel their pain. To love the way You love, and give the way You gave Yourself for us. Make us worthy, O Lord, to serve our fellow man.”
From the moment Sister Regina contacted me in June 2010 about Heart’s Home, I could think and pray of nothing else. Heart’s Home’s charism of being a presence of love and compassion to the suffering in imitation of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross has not only been an integral part of my prayer life for the past 2 years, but also encapsulates how my heart has longed to serve. I have never experienced such a deep peace and joy as when visiting Heart’s Home in January 2011 for the Come and See weekend. The Lord has made it clear that this is exactly where He wants me.
I am constantly amazed at the Lord’s faithfulness and providence, especially in this beautiful call to serve as a Heart’s Home Missionary. I am looking forward to joining the Heart’s Home Mission in Ecuador this August 2011 for a fourteen-month mission and I am so thankful that the Lord is really asking me to love Him and embrace Him in His suffering people of Ecuador. I am so deeply grateful for your prayers especially and, if you are able, your monetary sponsorship.