Vocation: Gift, Present, Feast and Joy
I was born into a simple and poor family, who were happy and well disposed. There are 9 children in my family: 6 boys and 3 girls. I grew up and lived with my family until I was 22 years old.
At the age of 18 a great Mission of Our Lady of Grace – Estreito de Câmara de Lobos-Madeira was organized in my village. It was guided by the Redemptorist priests. I really enjoyed it. Until then, my dreams had been directed to Marriage and everything was heading in that direction.
During the mission, the Priest invited us to a meeting of young people and I participated enthusiastically. The subject of the Mission focused on the person of Jesus: as Messiah of God, as Lord of the Universe and as Sheperd. With this, the Father wanted to show the greatness of the Kingdom and above all the need for many workers for the harvest. This realization opened my eyes to see further. Jesus created in me many questions and deep disturbances. It made me think a lot. In addition, I asked myself, what does the Lord Jesus want from me? On my return home, I told my parents and brothers my idea of one day becoming consecrated. Acceptance was not given, but the invitation of Jesus was much stronger! Moreover, Jesus won the challenge for change!
After a time of deep reflection the time for decision came. After 22 years, I decided to ask for my admission to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. I went to Sister Isabel Valente, Sister Servant of the Hospice, who accepted my request and told me to wait a little bit for the answer. I sympathized with the idea. In September of the same year, I was invited to start the Aspirant’s stage that lasted seven months. I went to the Preventorio da Parede home for children (daughters of parents sick with tuberculosis). On September 2, 1971, I began my Postulancy which was very long, about 2 years! I passed through a large number of houses in the Province. I learned a lot in every way. All this time of Postulancy was a time of inner struggle, doubts, and uncertainties, but also of great joy.
On November 21, 1973, I entered the Seminary in Lisbon with eight other young people. I was animated by the call of the Lord and enriched by beautiful, happy, and joyful experiences. This stage of the seminary became a time of inner reflection. It was a time moved by the enchantment of God and my Vocation. It was a time to create passion for Jesus and for the poor, beloved of God, who also gave me a very close and healthy relationship with Jesus and the Sisters.
Province of Portugal
Sr. Maria da Conceição Silva DC