A Vocation Story by Sister Rita Godhino, CSC
Sisters of the Holy Cross
When I was younger my mind was always filled with questions like, ‘What shall I do in the future?’ When I reached the age of 18, deeper questions arose such as, ‘What is the meaning of life? How can I live a more meaningful life?’ I have to leave my home and stand on my own feet. I must make a good and firm decision for my life and the future.’
As the years passed, I slowly realized that God was providing answers to my questions little by little. The first signal came after my final school exam. After participating in weekday Mass at my parish church, the parish priest asked me, ‘Would you like to be a nun?’ Sometimes after completing one’s school certificate, girls join a congregation. I was puzzled, and not knowing how to reply, I asked, ‘How; where; and when father?’ I believe it was God who spoke to me through the priest. He suggested the Holy Cross congregation and wrote a letter to the vocation coordinator of Holy Cross for me. With this letter, I came to Holy Cross Convent [in Dhaka, Bangladesh] for the very first time.
I heard God’s soft voice calling out to me in silence. ‘Somewhere out there is someone who needs your service. Would you reach there?’ With a humble heart, I did respond to God’s call. On January 20, 1989, I entered the novitiate after my Christmas vacation.
Novitiate was the springtime of my religious life. I loved my classes in scripture, spirituality, sacraments and many other classes and activities, including family visiting two days a week. I had a very good pastoral experience in my novitiate. It taught me more about my faith and living the consecrated life. We had Mass every morning, prayed together, had Gospel sharing in the evening and prayed the rosary every day at 3 p.m. There was time for personal prayers as well. I worked in different areas in the novitiate and got to know and enjoy the sisters. We had fun together no matter what we were doing. My stay was in a beautiful brick building. I loved walking on the roof in the evening and adored the sunset. I quietly enjoyed nature, God’s wonderful creation. The novitiate set a solid foundation for living my consecrated life.
After two years in the novitiate, I took my first [initial] vows. I pronounced the vows of consecrated poverty, chastity and obedience to God, to the Church and to the Sisters of the Holy Cross Congregation forever. My whole life would be lived for God alone. No pain, no suffering or misunderstanding has stopped my journey of religious life.
Each day I live out my consecrated life with the commitment of love. My life is filled with many challenges and God has been good to me. He has provided strength, courage, and comfort in the challenging years, and blessed me with much joy and happiness. I continue to serve Him in whatever service He calls me to. I often think of St. Mother Teresa, who said, “Smile, no matter what comes in your way!”
My life is a journey of faith and trust in God’s providence. Now, I am a missionary in a foreign land. I have left my boat behind. I left my friends, my relatives, my siblings, my grandniece and nephews whom I love so much. God will fulfill me with whatever I need. How much I emptied myself, that much God filled me with His graces. God loves me so much and I am a happy religious.
*Sister Rita, (second from left) a native of Bangladesh, professed her initial vows with the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1991 and her perpetual vows in 1999. She is vocation coordinator for the United States, based in Los Angeles, California.