My name is Sister Jennifer, and today I am very happy to be alive and extremely happy to be a consecrated woman in Community Cenacolo. I want to share with you that I had to pass through the cross before resurrecting to new life and experiencing that Jesus truly came so that I might have life in abundance. I grew up in a Christian family; my parents immigrated to the United States to study and search for a better life. They had a culture and a way of doing things that were different from the Americans; this made me uncomfortable, and I judged them. I rejected my physical attributes and the Korean part of me. In our home studying was more important than anything else; the TV was under lock-and-key, and my sister and I could only watch it for a half - hour each day. I had to go to a school to learn Korean and didn’t have time to go to parties with my friends.
During summer, instead of going to the beach, I had to study mathematics in order to always improve my capabilities. Sundays weren’t dedicated to relaxing or going to the park together; we stayed at our Korean parish church to teach catechism or to help. Only now, with the eyes of the faith and thanks to the healing that Jesus has worked in my heart, do I infinitely appreciate my parents for the discipline and education that I received.
Only Jesus and I knew of fact that I didn’t accept myself and the various difficulties that I had in reconciling the Korean and American worlds. I was able to hide behind my smile and to be around lots of people; I justified myself with the best results in school and in sports, and I appeared to be a girl who was on the ball, very charitable and committed to volunteering. However, in the end, all these things were only a way to fill the emptiness that I had inside. I needed love, and I searched for it by doing many things and being a good girl; but inside I was alone and unsatisfied. At a certain point I was tired of this game; I was tired of doing everything for appearances, to always be behind my ambitions and preoccupations of having a perfect life. I began to only think of what I was eating; it was easier to flee into food than to think of my life, of the emptiness in my heart, of the fact that I was unhappy… and little by little I destroyed myself. How strange…even in all this death, there remained inside of me a big desire to love a lot and to love all… I desired to go to the third world to help “the poor,” but I didn’t have any love for myself and for my life. I thank God because he put people in my walk, even nuns and priests, that have loved me and helped me to feel the love of God. Some of them were my professors at the university, and on more than one occasion they proposed to me to take into consideration the idea to consecrate myself. Certainly I was searching for something more in life, something that would satisfy me and fill this profound yearning of my heart; however, I couldn’t accept that my life might finish like this. Finally I yelled out to God, “Either I begin to truly live, or I prefer to die.” After this cry for help the Madonna called me to make a pilgrimage to the Youth Festival in Medjugorje, and there I encountered Community Cenacolo, my salvation. The Community taught me how to live; I began for the first time to look inside myself and to know myself. I had many occasions to compare my gifts and my limits, and I never felt judged for my poverties. I was given the possibility to confront suffering, and I felt helped to not escape but to embrace the cross. Jesus helped me experience His humanity through concrete gestures of love from the people who were living with me. I discovered what friendship, patience, and forgiveness all mean... I felt loved, and this gave me strength and the desire to be a gift for the others as well. Little by little, with the help of the prayer and Eucharistic adoration, the selfishness, sadness, and rejection that I had in my heart left space for peace, the desire to live, and joy. After my first year in Community, I said to Jesus that I wanted to consecrate myself… but that I didn’t want to be a nun. I wanted to live a full life with lots of children, with the freedom to get up and go, to help, and to love all; but I was still waiting for my prince charming. Time was needed, and I continued to ask God to help me understand His will. In the end I understood that Jesus doesn’t force anything, that He wants me to be happy and have a fulfilling life. It was me who chose to become a nun. The prayer helped me to understand that the road of consecration was that which corresponded the most to my personality and the deep desires of my heart. Everyday I experience the fact that God works in my life and that He sustains me. This is my life that is consecrated to God today: saying “Yes” everyday to His love and letting Him live in my poor humanity in order to be mother, sister, and universal friend of children, missionaries, and sisters that live with me. What a fantastic story!