My Vocation – God ask first your heart then your work!
My name is M.ª de Cortes Astasio Lara; I come from Valdepeñas a Manchego town of – Ciudad Real. Those who know me say I have something of Don Quixote which can be true, if we compare his struggle with mine before entering in the Company of the Daughters of Charity.
My vocation as a committed Christian was born within my family, humble and committed Christian. There I learned to devote myself, to share with those who had less. But years passed, I had a steady job, I was happy and the health world always occupied my mind and my dedication. Close to terminally ill people, I to make sense of my struggle and I discovered the wounded and faceless God.
I had to repeat many times “God loves you without a timetable.” And God came to meet me -I remember the date exactly , August 14, 1995. I met the Daughters of Charity in Onda – Castellon. There I found what I was looking for: an Apostolic Life in Community totally given to God for the service of the Poor. The Lord used my only brother, a Carmelite Religious who had a very good relationship with the Sisters, and I finished my vacations days there helping in the Nursing Home.
One year later, I entered “La Esperanza (Hope) House” in Madrid as a Postulant. I remember those times with joy, but when leaving the seminary my life was not easy. My mother, widowed since she was 40, started suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I had 5 very hard years where God was present every day through the Community, the Province and the Pamplona Hospital community. The Samaritan Christ took care of us throughout the long and arduous journey.
In the 21 years of my life as a Daughter of Charity, my service has been always in the Health world, with its days full of light and hope, storms and sorrows, as in all services. But the world of illness is a daily battle. During those years, in the Psychiatric Hospital in Murcia, I dedicated my, let’s say, “free time”, as a volunteer in Sangonera Prison – now called Murcia. There I found other forgotten christs, set apart and ignored by society, with deep wounds unhealed and uncared for. Now my dedication to this service is full time. I am in three Penitentiaries of Madrid I – II and VII – three Centres of Alcala de Henares Diocese, where we, the Daughters, also have some apartments where we welcome children and some with mental illness, “The poorest are our burden and our pain”.
I would like to continue sharing my different experiences in the different communities where I have been and I have wonderful memories and very significant sisters in my life. It is all thanks to the presence of God and, even today, I wonder, what do I have that You are longing for my friendship?
Young people do not be afraid and open the door to Christ! You will be surprised by everything He has prepared for you!
Sister M.ª de Cortes Astasio Lara – Santa Luisa – Madrid Province