May the Lord give you His peace!
All that our Lord has done to bring me here could be summarized using the words of St. Therese: “Everything is grace.” I was born in Colombia and my family moved to the United States when I was two years old. We settled in Lyndhurst, New Jersey where I had the great gift of growing up in a very loving and devout Catholic home. When I was nine years old, my parents began attending the monthly CFR Lay Associate days at Most Blessed Sacrament Friary. I loved the life the Friars lived- everything was centered on Christ and always so joyful! The CFRs, along with my devotion to St. Therese, quickly became two of the things I loved the most. Realizing how rare this was though, I became afraid of what people would think if I shared my faith. This fear caused me to push aside the thought that maybe God was calling me to be a religious, and I was too afraid to ask Him if it was His will. The Lord used two major knee surgeries to finally get my full attention. I was in recovery for a number of months and had to miss a significant amount of school. This provided a lot of free time and so I picked up the autobiography of St. Therese: The Story of a Soul. I was so captivated by the beauty of her story, especially by the way she spoke about being a bride of Christ. I could feel our Lord tugging at my heart again. He gently began to reveal the path He had for me all along.
During my sophomore year of high school, I was put in touch with the sisters and started to volunteer at their soup kitchen. I was touched by their joy, their prayer life centered on the Eucharist, and their work with the poor. In this time my heart began to desire, most of all, to always be with our Lord. I knew that this desire would be totally fulfilled through their way of life. I was home! I continued discerning throughout the next few years. Our Lord kept revealing His love and continued to give me more and more of a love for our way of life. By His great grace, and the powerful intercession of St. Therese, I was blessed to enter our community. I am so grateful for the gift of this vocation! May God be praised for all He has done!
- Maria Montano