cn 02Carmen with the Sisters at Casetta Nova and the Youth Center

On September 3, 2016 a small sprout popped out of the ground, grown from a seed sown in fertile ground. It was the day I began my novitiate, and it was marked by great gratitude for what God generously gave to my life. I was supported by God’s promise: "I am with you" despite my excitement, tension, and fear. And this was enough to make me say my "Yes" with joy.
I can encapsulate my journey in only four words:

cn 03 BREAD

The novitiate was the delivery of the bread. I felt strongly Jesus’ invitation to put my ‘bread’ into His hands… a little, a lot, it does not matter; this bread, like my life, was made with simple small things, entrusted to the mysterious Force that makes yeast grow  -- and I wished to deliver it entirely in His hands so that it could become a gift for the hungry.


cn 04To choose the Novitiate is to make a choice for the poor brothers and sisters I met during the pre-novitiate. They have been instruments of God's mercy for me. In spite of everything -- the contradictions, omissions, gaps, and needs -- I felt infinitely loved by God. Faced with His unlimited love, I wanted to "give love back" by becoming Sister of the "poor and unfortunate." While I was cleaning the house, I found an old statue of Mother Frances who was bending over some of the suffering people of her time. I felt myself there among them, asking this woman for help and, in a special way, she stretched out her hands to me and blessed my desire to be, like her, a sign and instrument of the Love that heals and opens to life.


In August, while taking a walk, I came across a boulevard full of tree bark and dry leaves. It reminded me that the novitiate is a time to strip away what is not needed (the outer bark) and shed the leaves that are now out of season. It was a time for focusing on the essentials, on the lifeblood that keeps the tree up, despite all the leaves and bark released. This understanding, received as a gift, is the pearl without price -- the understanding I want to hold on the heart.

cn 01Carmen with sr MarinaNEWNESS

The Novitiate as a new time, a new beginning not only for me but also for the people who are close to me. My sister, Tonia, expressed it this way: "God gave me back a more mature sister.” These words helped me grasp the novelty that God was bringing into my life, and into the relationships with those who are dear to me.

“Love asks so much,

love asks everything that you are and all that you have,

love always requires an extra step,

drags you where you don’t expect to go;

beyond borders, beyond desires,

beyond your own poverty.

Over the last border, over a world without end,

where one day love will remain "

To the tune of this song I started walking along this road, listening to Love that today gives meaning and fulfillment to my life.                                                                                           

Carmen De Matteo

Published: October 28, 2016