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50 years of Consecration to God

gi ma 02Sr Licia, Sr Clara, Sr Maria, Sr Carmelina and Sr MarinaTo mark the occasion of her 50 years of Consecration to God, we asked Sr. Maria to share some of her life experiences with us.
With her, we give thanks to God for the gift of fidelity.
What do you feel you have been blessed with over these years? For what do you give thanks?
I have felt blessed by God for calling me to follow Jesus in the family of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. I am grateful that I have been called to follow in the footsteps of Mother Frances to care for the poor and the suffering.

How have you seen the charism in action?
With the help and grace of the calling, I have lived the charism from the start, with Sr. Paola Gessel, caring for the poor and the sick at home.

Can you tell us what has sustained you through the years in your difficult moments?
Charity and respect have always sustained me. Difficult human dynamics call for love first, because truth and charity are one and the same and they have built up inside and outside of me. This brings me peace, serenity and joy.

Is there an episode in particular that you would like to share?
I have experienced many episodes that I could share, ones that are simple and important at the same time. In the community, in work, in the street, on my travels I have always felt God calling me. Yet, from all these, I choose one which, for me, was extraordinary and that filled my heart with joy.

For three years I had the gift of being by the side of HIV-seropositive patients, people who were marginalized and profoundly alone. In this period, I cared for 8 young men to whom I delivered medication. I saw our relationship grow step by step as the initial distance between us was diminished by love. For them, I was no longer just ‘the nurse,’ I became their sister who listened and safeguarded their painful stories.

gi ma 01Sr. Maria at "Shelter of Hope", PhilippinesAnd for me, they became like brothers. My ‘brothers’ were a long way from faith, but the Lord in his infinite love, planted in them the desire to become Christians. So, after a special catechesis, their meeting with God was solemnly celebrated -- there were 4 christenings, 6 first communions and 12 confirmations among them, granting many moments of strong emotions and joy for everyone -- family and friends. As for me, I learned once again God is love, and that He abandons no one. He watches over each and every one of his children everywhere.  

What would you say to the new generations?
In reviewing my last 50 years, I would like to say to new generations to always look for the best in life, and to confide only in God who is Father, Mother, sister, brother, friend. This relationship with God through the Sacraments, makes it possible for us to grow, and strengthens our faith – it enables us to sustain hope and pushes us to love everyone.

I am profoundly grateful for the gift of being the daughter of Mother Frances Schervier, called to care for and heal the wounds of Christ in poor and suffering humanity.




Sr. Maria Atorino, SFP

Published: September 8, 2015