I believe that genuine freedom can only be fully attained when I have achieved a sense of freedom within. Following the desire of my heart to spend a life with God continue to bring me to a deeper discovery of myself, my existence and my relationship with Him which leads me to enjoy freedom to be more loving and more accepting of myself and of others.
My experiences have indeed affirmed that life is a continuous search for a deeper sense, as what the saying goes, “what makes sense brings essence to one’s existence.”
Spiritual formation was one thing I looked forward to even when I was still studying. This longing was nurtured when I got employed at Sacred Heart Academy then, now, St. Mary’s Academy of Guagua, Pampanga, a year after I graduated from college. Four years after I was hired, I was given opportunities to grow more professionally and in my service to the school. I was entrusted to take care of the school activities and of the whole high school department. It was very fulfilling to serve the students and the whole academic community. This I thought was what my heart was fully searching for. But this has just ignited my heart to desire for a more meaningful existence.
In 1999, another big opportunity for self growth came. After undergoing examinations, series of interviews, and passing all the requirements, I was chosen to be among the few to teach outside the country. This was a big leap in my career as a teacher and as a young woman where a lot of challenging experiences were in store.
I went and taught in one of the public high schools. While I was in a foreign country, I took all the possible avenues that will help me advance and mature as a person.
In June, 2000, I decided not to renew my contract in the School District. I went home the following month leaving all the opportunities that a western country could offer, in search for “the pearl of great price”. Few days after, I went to see the Vocation Coordinator of the RVM Congregation and I started completing the requirements in preparation for my entrance to the aspirancy period.
On April 22, 2001 I was accepted as a postulant and was invested as a novice ten months after. The formation I underwent widened my self knowledge all the more. It has helped me to have a deep sense of awareness of who I am and what I could become. It provided me a lot of experiences to deepen my personal relationship with God, thus allowing me to see clearly how He unfolded His loving plan for me. These personal encounters have strengthened my conviction to the call of the religious life and have prepared me for my first profession of vows which was held on February 2, 2004.
As a young and temporary professed sister, I can claim that this is what my heart is searching for. Now, I can attest that when God called me, He asked me to commit myself in a journey. He was with me and he will always be. His assurance of his constant presence becomes the wind beneath my wings that gives me courage and confidence to venture even to paths unknown to me. Indeed, a commitment to love and follow Him unreservedly is to enjoy freedom not just for a couple of days or so but… forever.
S. Ma. Lourdes B. Cao, RVM
Hometown: Guagua, Pampanga
Date joined: April 22, 2001