A Life That Draws: A Reflection

3Cathy

Last April 23, 2022, the Province organized a virtual session on Mother Candida for some lay groups that love and have an affinity with Mo. Candida and her way to the Father.  Here is a reflection by one of the participants, Dr. Linda Que.

 4Cathy

5cathy

 

2Catthy 1Lynn

 What is it about Mother Candida and her life that draws people to her? People in her time as much as people in our time.

The Re-introducing Mother Candida Zoom Interactive Session last April 23, 2022, drew almost 60 virtual participants from all walks of life.

What does this say?

There are many who have a special affinity to this beloved 19th-century saint. A simple woman. Unlettered at the start, yet Foundress of a Congregation with an intense education apostolate. This apostolate extends to Gospel values formation. Her life has special meaning to those who know her and have been shaped by her spirituality.

The session focused on:

1.      How human was Mother Foundress?

2.      What was her relationship with God like?

3.      What was her relationship with others like?

4.      What were some endeavors and situations of difficulty (in her young life and in her life of mission) that challenged her, tried her, and … her holiness?

Two hours did not seem enough to cover a life of loving God and a life of self-giving.

The session bore many treasures but the participants were hungry for more. Hopefully, this can be a series.

Knowledge and Insights gained:

How admirably and delightfully human she was/Her relationship with God.

Mother Candida was not spared from difficulties and hardships. Hers was a life of struggle:

a. Struggling through a life of poverty she had to work very early in life as a domestic helper. Her family had to uproot from their original home for greener pastures. She had to be separated from her family early in her young life to help augment finances.

b. As a Foundress and Superior she faced difficulties in furthering the mission of educating young people. These difficulties and obstacles were not only purely logistical in nature. They also challenged her relationship and interaction with ‘people who mattered’. There were times when she experienced being treated as somebody who did not ‘matter’. Being human she certainly felt what any human person would.

How did the young Juanita/Mother Foundress respond to all these hardships and obstacles?

She embraced them.

Her faith gave her a way of seeing the world, relating to it, responding to it, and making choices from a non-worldly perspective.

She found solace, consolation, and solution in her Lord, the God who prepared her for the mission he wanted to give her.

A life anchored in God from a tender age, a deep personal relationship with the Father, a relationship watered and nourished by constant prayer and genuine intimacy with God —- these kept her grounded, these kept her focused, these sustained her, these kept her whole, these kept her going. Even when the way seemed dark, even when goals seemed impossible to reach, even when the well was dry.

She must have felt frustrated and was sometimes weary, and would ask God for patience with circumstances and persons(!), even as she trusted in a God who never abandoned, a Go who was provident. She was very human.

*Her relationship with others.

With great acknowledgment of all being brothers/sisters of One Loving Father.

With great sensitivity for the dignity of the human person and his/her feelings.

With no judgment, with no bias or prejudice, with no labels.

Kind and gentle in correcting and sometimes one can glean her sense of humor.

With persons being paramount over things.

With great love and concern for the poor, the elderly, and the sick.

With a willingness to accompany and journey with people.

With a gift for reading character and understanding people.

God/His Holy Spirit —- how they must have been kept busy equipping and empowering Mother Candida! With grace upon grace upon grace!

For doesn’t it take grace to be a person like this? How patient she was! How kind she was! How accepting of people she was —- with all their own weaknesses and vulnerabilities and fragilities! With all their pasts and burdens and realities!

Surely, such wisdom must come from Above! Surely, such grace must be God-given!

Realizations/Resolutions:

*     What’s Mother Candida’s secret?

An intimate relationship with God.

How available am I to my Lord?

I must carve out time for communing with God —- to know him and his will more, to listen to him, to experience him apart and away from the world, to feel him, to be just us alone. Like Jesus, I need to go to a ‘lonely place’ to pray. Regularly. He must take precedence.

He must be paramount, and prioritized.

God does not want me to take things too seriously. He wants me to carry things lightly. I can do that only if I trust him to the point of peace —- peace in spite of anything and everything:

[In my present reality/state, these are:]

The reality of aging and diminishment

The inevitability of death and dying

The uncertainty of everything

The reality of loss and sadness and grieving for what is no more

The precarious state of the world: peace and the environment

The deterioration of moral values

Divisiveness vs. unity

Our country’s worrying political situation

Our country’s culture of corruption

Etc. etc. etc.

Exercise that sense of humor.

Laugh at myself.

Laugh at the world.

Smell the roses.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

In my relationships:

Value and cherish persons over all else.

Uphold dignity.

Be mindful of feelings.

Have time for persons.

Walk with them. Journey. Accompany.

Listen to them.

Above everything, love.