Celina Segovia Sarlat RJM

Twenty years ago, I felt very happy because I felt that I had chosen correctly, I was right in the election I had made of my career and of my boy-friend. I was in the middle of obtaining my degree in Science of Communication and I had a stable relationship with my partner with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. At that time we had been going together for a year and a half. What more did a young university girl need? Both elections had been made… it was just a question of time in order to form a family and to exercise my career. But God had other plans for me which I could not even imagine.

I am from the city of Merida, Yucatan, located on the south of the Mexican Republic. At that time, I had the opportunity to go on a University trip to the city of Mexico with all my group and from there I continued to the north of the country to Ciudad Juarez, to a Holy Week mission, where God changed my plans.

Even though I had participated in missions when I was in High School and since I was a child I heard people speak about the poverty in our country, it was only at this moment that I allowed myself to be confronted with the misery and the multiple exclusions of those who were victims, the indigenous women in our country. Perhaps coming to know closely concrete histories of marginalization, lack of opportunity, impunity, abuse of girls and adolescents, was what questioned and challenged me. I especially remember a little six year old girl, Vero, the daughter of an alcoholic mother, and sister of an adolescent, victim of abuse by a professor in the school of the community…. who was not punished for abusing indigenous girls. In this context Vero had nobody to take care of her, neither by her mother or by her sister…she had to find out her way all alone in order to eat. Every day, the little girl would take the bus to go to the center of the city and to beg on the street, to buy something to eat with what she had received as alms and to save a bit of money to go back home and to live the same sad reality the following day… those faces, those stories… touched my heart. A little girl would have to feel secure in school, motivated to learn; a teacher should take care of his pupils, be concerned about them helping them to learn and not profit of these young girls.

Starting from that encounter with Vero, many questions came to my mind and to my heart, many existential ones, others involve God, others in relation to women, to the indigenous people and to education and finally… And what if I gave my life following Jesus…if I gave my life to God,,,?

I thought that with time and when I would return home, with my people, with my boyfriend, in the University, in the midst of my activities, I would forget all this; but on the contrary the doubts continued to cause anxiety, to worry me, And…if I give my life to God…? And if Religious life was the means so that other women can have a different reality, a different life, life in abundance?

It was starting from that experience that my search began… to follow Jesus, but where?, I was attracted by “the way of Saint Claudine Thévenet” her way of relating with God, in a simple way, her desire to disappear – that is, not to want to be the protagonist, she was not interested to have all the reflectors turned to her – but what I knew of Jesus and Mary as a pupil, was education, and education did not attract me, I was a communicator or I was on the process of becoming one… once again many questions came from my heart and from my head…and I had few responses. I decided to set out on the way and I did what Jesus suggested to those who asked Him, Rabbi where do you live?… Come and you will see. I got close to Jesus and Mary… I came and I saw. And I stayed here. I discovered that the way of following Jesus- mission, prayer and community life was something compatible with me. I was aware by means of accompaniment of Sisters, of feeling as part of a family, at ease and at home, that I could be Celina in her best version, I liked the form of praying in community and of being community for the mission, that is, that together we could be stronger for the construction of the Kingdom and that education is much more than to teach classes, it is to form hearts, it is to accompany in searches, it is to be concerned about my pupils, to love them… and all these among many other things… From Jesus and Mary I am a communicator of the love of God and of His goodness.

To make Jesus and Mary known and loved through the formation of women who will be in solidarity with other women, capable of transforming the realities of others, fills me with life. To share my life with indigenous women, to listen to them, to share my faith with them enriches me. To build bridges between the girls of the city and the women of the country side, where each one shares what she is and allows herself to be enriched by the others, makes me grow in hope.

This is why after twenty years I can say, never could I imagine that I could be so happy giving my life to Him and for Him. I had to go through fear, face questions, uncertainty, to discover my vocation, however, that cannot be compared with what I have received from Him, throughout these years of consecrated life in contact with pupils, missionaries, monitors of MEJ, indigenous people and Sisters in the Congregation.

God changed my plans and I thank Him for this, I am grateful. To be a Religious of Jesus and Mary has been a gift and a blessing in my life.

Would you be encouraged, ready for God to change your plans? Dare to look for your path with Him.

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