Sister Gelsomina Rodas, Honduran, remembers and celebrates with gratitude the first “YES” she gave to the Lord in our Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus. On the 22nd June, on the occasion of her visit to Honduras, she celebrated 25 years of religious life with a Celebration of the Word, animated by the delegates and catechists of the Christian community of Apacilagua, Choluteca, Honduras, her mother’s birth-place.
I let myself be surprised
The songs were a surprise, as was the way of sharing the Word of God, relating it to life and to what is lived in the country. I was surprised at how the delegate of the Word, Pedro Izaguirre, was able to integrate his homily into the event that we were celebrating. Starting from the Word of God proposed for that day’s liturgy, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God …” (Matthew 6, 33), he knew how to transmit with simplicity a message of hope to all of us who participated in the celebration. At the same time he related it to the vocation to religious life to which I was called 25 years ago.
What place do the Delegates of the Word have in my life?
My vocation to religious life as a Daughter of Jesus, was born in this atmosphere of catechesis and of the Celebration of the Word. My vocation came from the base. The Daughters of Jesus at that time, worked in the formation of pastoral agents in the Cathedral parish and went out to the villages to accompany them in workshops. I participated in this formation. I have always said that Teresa Noel, a now deceased Canadian Sister and the first Daughter of Jesus that I met, showed me the Christ who seduced her by the testimony of her life given to Him.
She showed me the charism of the Daughters of Jesus with their gestures of closeness, simplicity and openness. We experienced fraternal sharing in that we all arrived at the workshops with our lunch which was then put in common so that we could all have a taste of everything. It made me think of the multiplication of the loaves. Even if it was only beans, tortillas and eggs, it was beautiful to sit on the grass and share the food. That’s why, when I visit my mother, I try to participate in the Celebrations. They allow me to not lose touch with my family and my Christian roots.
The seed sown in the ground bore fruit
Like so many Honduran vocations, I am the fruit of the mission without frontiers of the Javerian Fathers and the Daughters of Jesus who, more than 60 years ago, came to our land as sowers of hope.
Like the multiplication of the loaves
After having been fed with the bread of the Word, we went on to a fraternal sharing in the style of the first Christian communities. There was a plate of rice and chicken and a glass of juice for everyone. My family organized the small “gathering”, as the Delegates and catechists call it, with each one puting in what they could in solidarity so that nothing was lacking. When I expressed to them my desire to celebrate my 25 years of religious life with my mother and the Christian community, they said to me, “Don’t worry, we will help you to make something to share with the people!”, and so they did.
My Sisters, the Daughters of Jesus, participated in the celebration with the community of Choluteca travelling to share in this celebration as a family.
Like the Virgin Mary, my mother teaches me to renew the “Yes” given to God
My mother, a simple but wise and believing woman, has taught me to renew the “YES” given in freedom to the Lord every day. When I receive a new mission from the Congregation, she says to me “Go in peace. I have always given you my hand, this time I will give it to you again. You are commanded, you have to go where you are commanded”. In your own way you help me to live the vow of obedience, you let me go in freedom and trust in God. Our mothers are models of generous surrender and of faith grounded in Jesus. They have learned from the Virgin Mary who knew how to accompany her son Jesus and respect him in His choices.
I am grateful to the Lord for so much love received in these 25 years of grace and mutual fidelity.
“What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” Psalm (115)
Gelsomina Rodas Baquedano. HJ.