TO TELL THE TALE OF GOD’S LOVE DOWN THE AGES (10)

PHOTO: Photo by Peter Feghali on Unsplash

Sr Judith Yuen, FMM

As the call of God became an irresistible urge in me, I could not ignore it. It was also during a retreat that the Lord set me on fire with his love, I went to see the retreat director, a Salesian Priest, Fr Chung and told him about my love story with the Lord. He sat beside me, drew near and spoke into my ear, “ Are you on fire?” My answer is a definite “yes.” After knowing my desire to be an FMM, he told me to speak to the superior as soon as I finished the retreat. I was excited about it.

After the retreat, I approached an FMM sister, expressed my desire to follow the call of God in the FMM way of life. She arranged for me to see the superior. The important day came, I tried to dress up to be more mature looking. My heart was beating fast when I entered the room of the superior.  The superior was my former school principal, she was a firm person, but kind in heart. All my elegance in speech was gone in front of her, I managed to tell her the journey of my love with the Lord. She listened attentively, at the end she asked about my age, I told her I was eighteen and a half, to make it sound older. She looked at me from head to toe and said in a soft tone, “You are not yet mature. Keep praying and see the will of God.” The fire in my heart nearly died out when I left her room.

Later, she arranged a sister to meet me regularly, let me know the life of the sisters and the spirit of their Foundress. Since the age for adulthood was twenty-one those days, I needed to wait to avoid trouble from my family. Knowing that I was teaching in an English school, the superior asked me to study education to become a qualified teacher, foreseeing the need of sisters teaching in our schools. I was unwilling to do so, because then I had to stay longer before I could enter. The sister in charge of me put it in a very nice way to get me at ease to study, “You can count that you have entered and go to study under obedience.” Wow, that was very different!

The time of waiting seemed long, the strength sustaining me came from the Eucharist, my daily Mass, from which I experienced the love of the Lord vividly, meditation on spiritual books also gave me encouragement and consolation. My favorite spiritual books were Imitation of Christ and the biography of St. Teresa the little flower. Through the meditation of the first book, I was led into the heart of Jesus, learnt his way of doing the will of the Father, and his love for each one of us. The life of St little Teresa taught me to love Jesus with all my heart, to trust him with a childlike spirit, to wait for his time and care no matter in what situation of life or trials. God was storing energy for me to face what would happen on my path. To get me into the Franciscan aspect of the FMM spirit, I was asked to join the Third Order of St. Francis (presently called Secular Franciscan Order), the Franciscan spirit of fraternal love, simplicity and joy attracted me from the very beginning, moreover, the mysterious way Christ led Francis to Him and showed his unconditional love to Francis struck the cords of my heart and set it in resonance. “What path are you leading me, Lord?”

I could not enter at the age of twenty one, still had one year to finish the training course for teachers. I was back counting the days when I could belong to the Lord, then news came from China telling me my father was very sick. It was a hard choice to make between following the call of the Lord and the responsibility towards my family. I experienced the inner struggle, at the same time the Lord’s call became stronger. Fr Mark Chan helped me to discern and we made the decision that I would stay one more year to save as much money as I could for my family, including material and medical needs. With clear orientation, I launched out to earn money in whatever way I could: aside from teaching in the English school during the day, I had part time teaching in an evening school at the parish, plus giving private tuition to students. You can imagine how busy I was, sometimes eating supper late at night and getting minimum time for sleep. I did not think about my health, the only goal in front of me was to save enough money for my family so I could join the FMM family when I reached 23 years of age. (To be continued)

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