Letter of JUANITA to her sister Rebeca about her vocation

In this letter, written on the occasion of her sister Rebeca's birthday, Juanita reveals to her sister her vocation.

April 15, 1916

Dear Rebeca,

I'm taking a few moments off from study to be able to wish you a thousand happinesses for your birthday, since one more year has been given to make you more serious and formal and this will be a motive to reflect on the vocation God has granted you.

Believe me, Rebecca, at 14 or 15 one understands one's vocation. You hear a voice and a light shows you the path of your life.

That beacon shone for me when I was 14 years old. I changed my course and planned the path that I had to follow, and today I come to share with you my secrets and the ideal projects I have forged.

Till today the same star has been shining on the two of us. But tomorrow perhaps we will no longer be united under its protective shadow. This star is our home, it is the family. It is necessary that we be separated and our hearts, which have been formed in the same way, will perhaps be separated tomorrow. Yesterday it seemed to me that you wouldn't understand my words, but today you are 14 years old, the age at which you can understand me. So I believe you'll put yourself in my place and you'll agree with me.

I will entrust to you the secret of my life in a few words. Very shortly we'll be separated and the desire we always cherished in our childhood to live together always is very quickly going to be shattered by another form of reality that is higher than our youth. We must follow different paths in life. To me has been given the better part, the same that was given to Magdalene. The Divine Master has taken pity on me. Drawing close to me, He said to me secretly: "Leave your father and mother and all that you possess, and follow Me."

Who can refuse the hand of the all-powerful One when He abases Himself to the most unworthy of His creatures? How happy I am, dear sister! I've been captured in the loving nets of the Divine Fisherman. I'd like to make you understand this happiness. I can say with certainty that I am His promised one and that very soon we will celebrate our espousals in Carmel. I'm going to become a Carmelite. What do you think? I wouldn't want to keep anything in my soul hidden from you. But you know that I can't tell you in words all that I feel, and for this reason I've resolved to do it in writing.

I have handed myself over to Him. On the 8th of December I pledged myself to Him. It's impossible to say how much I love Him. My mind is taken up with Him alone. He is my ideal, an infinite ideal. I long for the day when I can go to Carmel to concern myself with Him alone, to abase myself in Him and so to live His life alone: To love and suffer to save souls. Yes, I thirst for souls because I know that is what my Jesus craves more than anything else. Oh, I love Him so!

I wish I could inflame you with that love. What happiness would be mine if I could give you to Him! Oh, I never have need of anything, because in Jesus I find all that I'm looking for! He is so pure, so beautiful. He is goodness itself. Pray to Him for me, Rebecca dear. I need prayers. I see that my vocation is very great: to save souls, to give workers to the vineyard of Christ. In comparison with the value of one soul, all the sacrifices we make are small in comparison. God gave His life for them and how we disregard their salvation. As one betrothed to Him, I must thirst for souls, and offer my Espoused the blood He shed for each of them. And what are the means for gaining these souls? Prayer, mortification and suffering.

He comes with His cross, and above it is written only one word that moves my heart to its innermost fibers: "Love." Oh ho beautiful He appears to me with His tunic of blood! That blood is more precious to me than all the jewels and diamonds in the whole world.

Those who love another on earth try, my Rebecca dear, as you see in Lucia and Chiro; to have one single souls and one single ideal, but their efforts are useless since creatures are so helpless. This doesn't happen in our union. Jesus already lives in my heart. I strive to unite myself, to become like Him and abase myself in Him. I'm a drop of water that must disappear in the Infinite Ocean. But there is an abyss that the drop cannot cross; and the ocean overflows in such a way that the drop of water remains in the most complete abandonment of itself and lives in a continuous whisper, calling to the Divine Ocean.

But I'm only a poor little birds without wings. Who will give me wings so I can go and build my nest so as to always close to Him? Love. Oh yes, I love Him and I want to die for Him. My love is so great that Id' like to be martyred so I can prove to Him that I love Him.

Doubtless your sisterly heart is torn apart on hearing me speak of separation, on hearing me murmur that word: farewell forever on earth in order to enclose myself in Carmel. But be not afraid, my dear little sister. There will never be any separation between our souls. I will live in Him. Search for Jesus and in Him you will find me and there we three will carry on these intimate conversations that we must always carry on there for all eternity. How happy I am! I invite you to spend time with Jesus in the depths of your soul. I have read in the life of Elizabeth of the Trinity how that little saint asked Our Lord to make her soul his little home. Let's make ours such. My dearest little one, let's live with Jesus within ourselves. He'll tell us things unknown. His lullaby of love is so sweet. Like Elizabeth, we'll find heaven on earth, because God is Heaven.

We'll ask Jesus in Communion that He build in our souls a little home; that we can arrange the material that must be our acts of overcoming self and of forgetfulness of ourselves, making our ego disappear, for these are the gods we adore interiorly. This is costly and will draw from us cries of pain. But Jesus asks for that throne and we must give it to Him. Charity must be the weapon to overcome those gods. Let's be concerned about our neighbors and serving them, even when it's repugnant to do this. In that way we will obtain that the throne of our heart be occupied by its Master, by God our Creator.

Let's overcome ourselves. Let's be obedient in all things. Let's be humble. We are so miserable! Let's be patient and pure as the angels and we'll have the joy of seeing Jesus, who is a good architect, build a second house of Bethany, where you can concern yourself with serving Him in the person of your neighbors, as Martha did, and I, like Magdalene, will remain contemplating and listening to His word of life. While we are still in school it is impossible that He will demand of us the total union that consist of being occupied only with Him. But each hour we can offer Him a little bouquet of love.

Let's love the divine little Child who suffers so much without finding consolation in His creatures. May He find a refuge in our souls, a haven where He can heal in the midst of the hatred of His enemies and a garden of delights where he can forget the forgetfulness of His friends.

I must bring my letter to a close. Farewell. Answer this letter of mine and keep it a complete secret. Your sister who loves you in Jesus,


(Letter No. 8, trans. Michael D. Griffin, Teresian Charism Press, 1994)

Photo : Rebeca, her sister.



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