For a while, I’ve been really interested in doing mission work. I had a friend at the beginning of the summer encourage me to apply for Totus Tuus in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois (my Diocese). After some contemplation, I decided that I would. I applied for the job on a Friday I believe, sent in my references that day, got a call from the program director of the program for my diocese on the following Monday, set up an over the phone interview on Wednesday, and found out I had gotten the job on that Friday.
During this process of applying, filling out all the necessary paperwork and all the way up to finding out I got the job, I kept praying “Not my will, but Yours be done, Lord“ the same prayer Christ prayed to the Father while he was in agony in the garden. I knew that I wanted this job, but more than anything, I wanted this job only if it was God’s will.
Well, it turns out that it was. I went to training in Springfield, Illinois for a week and a half, the longest I’ve ever been away from home without my parents, so that was different. I felt so out of my element that I couldn’t sleep or eat and, because of that, I found myself drinking way too much coffee just to keep myself awake.
The experience that I had at training was so beautiful. I met such amazing and beautiful people, that were and still are constantly encouraging me to be a better Catholic, and for that I am truly grateful. During training, the days were filled with prayer, classes, Mass, and a Holy Hour each night. It was amazing how much I grew as a person during that short time, and how much I grew even more so during the actual program.
Training for this program that is Totus Tuus, really brought me out of myself. I was talking to a friend not too long ago, and he was saying how the first day of training I was so quiet and shy, and then the next day, I was super outgoing and just how much I changed, and he asked me why that happened. I told him that it was because I realized that I wasn’t being judged by them, and I felt and knew that I was loved and respected by all of them — some thing that I’m definitely not used to in ordinary every day life — and that in order for the Holy Spirit to work through me the way that He needed to, that I needed to break down those walls and just be myself . The men that were there, I could tell that they saw me as a person with dignity and value, and not as an object like women are usually seen as in today’s world. They respected me and that helped me to come to love myself more and not be so critical towards myself. The girls that I met at training were amazing too. They were all so sweet and all of them –girls and guys both– they just radiated the love they had for Christ and it was and they still are an inspiration to me.
The program that I and my 2 other teammates (along with other teams) ran was for 6 weeks, each program being a week at a time at different parishes. I’m not going to say that things were always rainbows and butterflies, because when you’re with the same people for 2 months, things aren’t always going to be that way. When we had struggles, we tried to fix them, and look at the big picture: teaching the faith, being disciples, and being role models for the kids that we taught and doing what the Lord had put us there to do.
As I said before, during training, prayer was a huge aspect. We prayed the Liturgy of the Hours (Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer), the Rosary, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily. The same thing was true for the actual program. I grew in my prayer life so much and could see my prayers being answered. I can sincerely say that I miss that routine of daily prayer and am trying so hard to keep up with that routine but I do fall short sometimes.
This summer was life changing, and it fed my soul so much and made me realize how much I thirsted for that prayer life, closeness with Christ, and that sense of community that my every day life was lacking.
Every day I thank God for letting me be a part of Totus Tuus this summer and all the friends that have come out of the program. What a tremendous blessing. With this experience, I’ve found out that doing God’s will in life, even with something as small as this, and giving Him your time, that He will make it fruitful and that you will be satisfied.
Totus Tuus Maria!