Young Nun's Testimony Before Pope and Spanish Youth

Sister Ruth de Jesús Tells of Her Vocation

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MADRID, Spain, MAY 6, 2003 ( At John Paul II’s meeting Saturday night with almost 1 million youths at the Cuatro Vientos air base, a young nun’s testimony wrung applause and tears from the audience.

Here is the testimony of Sister Ruth de Jesús, of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross. The congregation’s founder, Ángela de la Cruz, was canonized Sunday.

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Dear Holy Father:

I am Sister Ruth de Jesús. I am 28 years old. I belong to the Sisters of the Company of the Cross, founded by Blessed Ángela de la Cruz, whom Your Holiness will canonize tomorrow. I entered when I was 20.

Although I am a junior with temporary vows, I am committed to Jesus forever with an undivided love, in a life of prayer and service to the poorest, the sick and the abandoned in their own homes. I wash their clothes, clean their homes, cook their food, dress their sores, and watch over them at night. Most important of all, I give them all the love they need, because Jesus gives it to me in prayer. God is love, and I return his love by loving the poor, giving them my youth and my whole life.

Before entering the institute, I led a normal life. I liked music, beautiful things, art, friendship, adventure. I often dreamed about my future, but one day I saw two Sisters on the street who caught my attention because of their recollection, quick step and peaceful look. They were young like me. I felt empty and in my inner self I heard a voice that said to me: «What are you doing with your life?» I wanted to justify myself: «I study, get good grades, I have many friends.» I stared at the Sisters until they disappeared from view and wondered: Who are they? Where are they going?

Like Nicodemus, I invited Jesus into the night of my anxious heart and in prayer, I began to talk with him. With him, I felt the call of so many brothers who were asking me for my time, my youth, the love I had received from the Lord. And I searched, and found the woman who, together with Mary, was closest to the cross of Jesus — Sister Ángela de la Cruz. She had so configured herself to Jesus’ cross that she became love for the suffering poor. She captivated me and I wanted to be one of hers. And here I am, Holiness, conscious of what I have left behind.

I have left everything that the young people have who are with us this evening: freedom, money, perhaps a brilliant future, human love, perhaps some children. I have left it all for Jesus Christ, who captured by heart to make the love of God present to the weakest, in my poor nature of clay.

I must confess, Holiness, that I am very happy and that I wouldn’t change my life for anything or anyone. I live in the confidence of the one who called me to be a witness and who supports me with his grace.

Thank you, Holy Father, for your dedicated life, without reservations, as a faithful witness of the Gospel, for strengthening our faith, for quickening our hope, and for opening our heart to the ardent love of the one who knows how to lose his life so that others may gain it.

Thank you, Holy Father, for your life, which has marked many of us.

Thank you for coming to tell us, the young people of Spain, that the world needs living witnesses of the Gospel; that each one of us can be one of those courageous persons who dare to construct the new civilization of love, because what we do not do for the poor, contemplating in them the face of Christ, will remain undone.

Thank you again, Holy Father.

[Transcription and translation by ZENIT]

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