My Vocation Story
I am the third child and the only girl of four children. My father is a Protestant, and my mother is a devout Catholic. All of us were brought up in the Catholic faith. Sunday Mass was a regular practice, as was the daily recitation of the rosary before going to bed.
I was in Grade VI at St. Paul College Tuguegarao, now, St. Paul University Philippines, when I thought of becoming a Sister. I was fascinated by the goodness, kindness, and concern of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres to those entrusted to their care. The thought of religious life was nourished by attending daily Mass with my two older brothers who used to serve the 6:00 A.M. mass at the Ermita, the church just outside the school.
As the only girl in the family, my brothers were very protective of me. I was the apple of my parents’ eyes. My father called me his “little queen.”
In school, I was very active in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities like the Glee Club, Dramatic Guild, and Dance Troupe. I was Archdiocesan President of the Catholic Action and an officer of the Sodality.
In my sophomore year in college, I met someone who became special to me, a young man who was a senior college. He proposed that we get married after my college graduation since he already had a stable job. In spite of the fact that we were going steady and we loved each other. The thought of entering the convent kept coming back in my thoughts and dreams. We talked about it openly, but he was seriously preparing for our future together.
When I was a college junior, I sought the help of a spiritual directress, Mother Marie Alexis Pacis, SPC, to help me discern what the Lord really wanted from me. I prayed and reflected over the matter. The Christmas before my college graduation, I asked my parents for a unique Christmas gift. Their consent for me to enter the convent after the commencement exercises in March. My father firmly told me “Over my dead body!” I wrote my boyfriend explaining to him why I was breaking up with him, “not that I loved him less, but I loved the Lord much more.”
My eldest brother, a major seminarian who had always been supportive of my entering the convent, promised to ask our parents to respect my decision. Deep within me I was determined to enter the convent, whether my parents will give their blessing or not. I was ready to escape. I took up a double course, AB-BSE, but I completed my BSE first, and I needed one more subject to finish my AB. I asked to take up summer school, though I was preparing to enter the convent that summer. When I was about to leave the house for summer school, my father approached me and gave me two important documents that I needed to enter the convent, my parents’ marriage certificate and my baptismal certificate. He said: “We cannot give you your happiness. If you think you will find it in the convent, we will give you our blessing. But, keep in mind, if the convent is not for you, the door of the house is always open for you to come back.” He took me in his arms and it was the first time that I saw him cry. Then the man who proposed marriage visited me and said, “there is only one condition that I ask. You have to assure me that it is not because of another man that you are breaking up with me. I cannot get even with God.”
I was 19 years old when I entered the convent. I was given the name Sr. Mary Rosella in honor of Our Lady of the Mystical Rose, my model and mother.
I lived a meaningful and fruitful life for the past fifty- four years forming young Paulinian professionals in the Congregation’s Education Ministry, helping in the spiritual development of teachers, office staff, maintenance, Friends of St. Paul, students and in the catechetical formation of our SPC Junior Sisters, novices, postulants and aspirants.
I have listened to the dictates of my conscience and the deepest longings of my heart as I answered the call after so much prayer and reflection. I have given myself freely and completely all these years without any regret and the good Lord has blessed me a hundredfold. My religious vocation is one of God’s most precious gifts to me. He has gifted me with so much more than I deserve.
Be a Sister of St. Paul of Chartres
Join our Second Sunday
Look for: Sr. Emelita Alvarez, SPC
SPUD Local Vocation Promoter
Mobile No. 09175945861
Sr. Mari Jonna Rosales, SPC
National Vocation Promoter
Mobile No: 0920-422-9521 / 0922-862-7913
Sr. Mary Rosella U. Faypon, SPC