The Lord had ‘something’ for me to do!
I always knew I loved the Lord! I felt that God had ‘something’ for me to do from an early age. The prospect of the Religious life was ‘definitely not for me!’ Although I loved the Lord intensely I was frightened to ever seriously explore what it may mean and besides I could never leave my family and friends in Wigan, England! A call to the religious life seamed to lack purpose in this modern age…no I was not interested! Although the feeling that I was meant to do something for the Lord resurfaced over the years I always suppressed it with my latest desire, entertainment and busy successful career.
In 1988 a friend introduced me to the apparition of the Virgin of Revelation in Tre Fontane, Rome and after a while I started to attend regular catechetical meetings in my parish. I began to experience that inner conversion as we discussed the Scriptures and the teaching of the Catholic Church my heart stared to ‘burn within me’(Cfr Lk 24:32). I developed a thirst to learn the truths of the Catholic Faith and transmit them to others. I wanted to tell everyone that ‘God loves you, personally!’ It was at this time that I was first introduced to the Missionaries of Divine Revelation (MDR).
Meanwhile, my career began to flourish and by 2003 at the age of 33 I was appointed to the Board of a thriving company as the Director of Operations. I had finally achieved ‘everything’ on my list. In all the hustle and bustle I started to sense that something was still missing. What was that ‘something’ that the Lord wanted me to do?
In June 2005 I took a weekend off and visited Rome with a friend. We planned a weekend sightseeing and enjoying ourselves but I was not prepared of Our Lady’s knock out punch! With MDR we visited the Grotto at Tre Fontane to pray to the Virgin of Revelation for our intentions. It was a hot day and I took myself aside to pray. Whilst watching Sisters Priscilla and Agnese I was struck by the joy and love they showed and the feeling of wholeness in what they were doing. I was then struck by the thought …. ‘that’s what I am called to do’. Obviously the heat was getting to me! I brushed the feeling to one side but it had disturbed me at the deepest level. Alone, I said to the Lord….. ‘you want me to give all this up? Rome….. The idea is crazy’. Over the next year I began to search for my true purpose in life. All my success began to ‘…seam as rubbish….when compared to Christ’ (Phil 3:8)
Finally in 2006 providence brought Mother Rebecca to England and when we were alone I finally asked a question that had long been suppressed… ‘How do you know if the Lord is really calling you?’ After a long period of discernment and an intense time of prayer and reflection with frequent Eucharistic adoration, I became convinced that I had received the calling from the Lord. I was called to ‘Follow Him’ (Mt4:19) even though, humanly speaking, it seemed incredible. It meant leaving my successful career, living in a foreign land, when I am not fluent in the language, and most importantly, leaving my family.
On the 27th July 2008 I entered MDR with much joy. I can honestly say that I have found wholeness and joy in great abundance not to mention the satisfaction and challenge of using my talents for the salvation of souls and the good of the Church.
On the Feast of Christ the King 2009 I entered the Noviciate and became ‘Sr Emanuela’ as the Archbishop told me my new name I was struck by the fact that the Lord’s plans for us, that something that the Lord has for us to do, is bigger than we could ever have imagined. My new name signifies a new mission from the Lord and I would encourage all young people to undertake that search as in that ‘something’ we will find our true fulfilment and happiness. The Lord is never out done in generosity and lovingly following Him leads us on a path of wholeness, happiness and gives us the true sense of our lives..
The search for my mission started with a question… ‘Oh Lord what is your purpose for me?’ and ended with a challenging response – ‘Follow me’.
Sister Maria Emanuela
From music to the consecration
Interview with Sr M. Rebecca by Claudio Tanturri
‘I was a treble voice in the Rai Choir as a young girl, then I studied at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome where I received a diploma in Operatic singing. I also had the experience as a singer of pop music for “Four and Five Nora Orlandi” and finally after the culmination of many years of professional scores and manuals of music from opera singing, I received a contract once again with the state television choir. All of this was achieved by the age of twenty four.’ Before the consecration of her own life to God “God – says Sister Rebecca Maria Nazzaro, the protagonist of the curriculum vitae – had been part of my life since early childhood and music the remainder. And all thanks to my father and my mother, one with prayer, always present in every circumstance, but also with the tenderness of an extraordinary constancy; the other with the simplicity and attention to gestures towards me and my brother and two sisters. They have unwittingly given me a rule of life that, just as unconsciously, has blossomed into a call to give that life to the Lord.”
Among the different circumstances that led Sister Mary Rebecca, a fifty year old Roman, now superior of the Missionaries of the Divine Revelation and vice USMI diocesan delegate, to enter the novitiate of the order founded by Mother Sister Prisca Mormina (1922-1998), is the influence of her father “there is really an intense relationship with my father, always attentive to our needs as children, and also an amazing communicator of his passions: his love for music; as he says himself, ‘music has created what is beautiful’.”
Among the images that come to mind for Sister Nazzaro during her story, is for example that of her father who returns from work, who took up his guitar to teach songs like the ‘Zecchino d’oro.’ Or the memories of Sundays past during summers by the sea at Ostia: “We never went away from the beach without all going together to the pier to watch the sunset and say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the beautiful day.” Or how we passed the winter months visiting churches in the historic centre of Rome, “Every week a different one.”
Despite everything, however, Rebecca was living with the simplicity of her own spirituality, while it was always important, it wasn’t the true fulcrum of a life already full of professional commitments. “At certain times of the year – she says – especially during the tour around the world, I would simply look for a church to attend Sunday Mass, not that when I returned home, I did much more.”
But then her existential journey, after certain events, took a different line, and she became more conscious and her spiritual growth came to a crossroads. “At first I did not understand even the connotations of what turned out to be the call to give myself totally to God. I had a few people who were close by to help me. Some friends advised me to go for psychological analysis, thinking that maybe I had some psychological problem.” But even here the love of her family proved so crucial to remove that “initial confusion in saying a ‘yes’ without hesitation to the uncanny/puzzling call that the Lord was addressing to me.” In a strange way, she says, more than the positive professional appearance, there was also the sentimental aspects, but “the love of God is stronger. The seed had sprouted and had moved me so deeply that all human resistance was now falling. It was enough just to trust him, and so I did.”
Mother Maria Rebecca Nazzaro
The leap of faith
From when I was a young girl, I felt a strange and indefinable sensation of something missing. Even in the most joyful moments of my life I felt this sensation though I didn’t understand why. I suffered because I thought it was strange and ‘abnormal’.
When I graduated my professors predicted a brilliant future, rich and satisfying, but this feeling became even stronger. None of the bright possibilities were enough for me – my soul felt empty. With great confusion I turned to the Lord and asked Him “what do you want from me? It’s like I’m in a fog – what can I do?”
Through intense prayer and the guidance of a good priest, I realised that the Lord was asking me to put Him in the first place. He wanted me to leave everything and follow him, even though this meant leaving a secure future not just for me but also for my family. Jesus called me to make an act of faith. I was afraid, but with his help I understood that having faith did not mean taking a jump without knowing where I was heading – it meant leaping into the strong and safe arms of Jesus from whom no one could separate me!
On January 1st 2003 I made the ‘leap of faith’. I left everything and entered the community of the Missionaries of Divine Revelation. What joy! I couldn’t describe it! At last I found what I had been missing – it was Jesus and my desire to do all for Him, with Him and in Him! In Him I found the real meaning of life. After that day I didn’t miss anything, because my soul rested in Him with the fullness of joy.
I thank the Lord for the gift of my religious vocation and I pray that all young people called like me to follow Him more closely will not be afraid to leap into his arms. We don’t really lose anything when we leave the things of this world -we receive something much greater.
Don’t be afraid! If you receive the call to serve the Lord, respond ‘yes’, have faith and you will find the true life.
Sister Maria Priscilla
Show me who I am!
After completing my studies I started to work, but after a few years I was out of work and this was a great crisis for me. With great determination I started studying again so as to be able to “re-enter” the labour market.
Every day I attended Mass and adoration of the Blessed Eucharist and I stayed for hours to reflect on why things had not worked out for me. I started thinking that the hours before Jesus were of no use, other than to distract from studying and looking for work. This thought scared me! I asked for help from a good priest to help me to understand God’s will.
It was clear that God’s will, should coincide with mine. By doing so, I stopped the Lord from implementing the project of happiness, that he had written for me from all eternity: to work in his “vineyard” as the bride of Jesus. This project could not just be accepted, because I conceived religious life as a restriction of personal freedom and also considered the nuns as “failed brides.”
Very often I went to pray at the shrine of the Virgin of Revelation and it was always the same prayer: “Show me who I am.” The meeting with the Missionaries of the Divine Revelation was the answer: without going out to discover, I observed them with much interest and discretion, it was important for me to see if they were really happy “brides”.
At a catechesis meeting for young girls, I listened to the testimony of Sister Priscilla, who for love of Jesus decided to become a missionary! Finally I realized that religious life is a matter of love for a person, Jesus Christ. After several days of internal struggle, in which I repeated to myself that this idea was my own invention and not a real call, then finally on 26th January 2003, at 19.35, at the sanctuary, before the Virgin of Revelation, I asked Mother Rebecca, Superior of the MDR, and said “God has won! He has knocked down every obstacle, what should I do?” Since then, I belong to the family of the Missionaries of the Divine Revelation and, like them, I am a bride desired and loved by Jesus, to serve the Church to bring souls to God.
Sister Mary Agnese