When Violaine Paradis couldn't decided what to do with her life, prayer, silence, and a comic book led her to a place where she could feel God's love.
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This Random Nun Clip is brought to you by A Nun's Life Ministry. I am Sister Rejane Cytacki of A Nun's Life. And my guest today is Sister Violaine Paradis of the Congregation de Notre Dame. Join us for an adventure that explores these questions and more: Can you be an actress and a nun? How is the theatrical embodiment of a character connected to the incarnation of Christ? May the joy of our conversation resonate in your own life's spiritual journey with Christ. Enjoy!
First of all, I needed to go there because I was not listening to my inner voice because I was all the time listening to what other people were saying to me, like, "You should do this, or you should do this, and how about this?" And, and I was like, Well, wait, wait, wait. What do I want myself? It was difficult to hear it. So I decided to go in that place. And there in the deep silence, I was crying. I was like, where am I going? I was very fragile inside, like, just not feeling that I can hear myself. And I was like, that's weird. And so I met a monk at one time, and I told him about my inner voice: where is my inner voice. And he said, "Do you know, the little Therese of Lisieux?" And I said no. "You should get a book in the library and look at it." And I said, "Oh, okay." So I went away and I took a book in the library and it was for children with cartoons. And I took it a little cartoon, very simple, because I said I want to start simply. And I read this cartoon. And that one page, very well done. I mean, it was written, "My vocation is to love." And that image and words talked to my heart so strongly that I was crying. I said, "That's it. That's what I want." It was very, very strong. And I was I felt such warmth in my heart, and grace. But at that point, I didn't know what was happening. And I was just going down to my knees and I was like, okay, I cannot say that you're not there. Like, I could feel the love of God. And I said, "Okay, I was looking for you outside, but you were inside of me." It came back to me that phrase of St. Augustine. I was looking for you.
Outside, but you were in.
And that changed my old life. And I didn't know I was wanting to be a religious, but I knew that I would put God into my life, consciously. I really changed a lot of things. And I started to go to the church, to go with a community, like a place to pray with others. And I started to be very dedicated and very faithful to those meetings. I was just turning 28. That was 2004. And 2005 in the spring, I met a sister in a Taizé meeting. There were 200 young people, young adults, I was there and she was there. And we were in the same group of 10 at one point because we are gathering 10 by 10. And we present ourselves and she's saying, presenting herself, that she's a sister of the Congregation de Notre Dame and I'm looking at her and I'm like what?? Afterwards I went to see her and said you're a sister? And she said yes. And she was from Belgium. But she was in Montreal for a couple of years because she started her religious life and we connected so fast. We connected deeply and she became my accompany-er in my vocation path because I was looking for my place and I didn't know if I wanted to be a religious, but I was touched by her example, her witness. In those years, I needed to be very clear and discern, this is her path; is it mine?
Right. You weren't sure if you're absorbing hers, but it has to be yours.
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This transcript has been lightly edited for readability.