Women of Christ Wednesday: Linda Hernandez

I first met Linda back in my college days. She worked in the library and was part of my Bible study. After college, we met again at an Awakening retreat and a year later, she came to visit me and told me that she was entering the convent. I decided to ask her about her discernment process and the order she decided to join.
Who are the Disciples of Christ and how did you meet them?
Discipulas de Jesus (disciples of Jesus) are a religious community of consecrated life established in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1986–a new congregation that has been instituted in less than 30 years. They seek to be like Jesus (hence, Disciples of Jesus) and imitate Mary as women.  Their charism is to evangelize. They emerged out of the Charismatic movement, so their prayer style is charismatic. I met them at my current parish, St. Charles Borromeo, about almost five years ago when I was sent there to take formation (FTCM) courses and was very attracted to the life and prescence of God that irradiated from this one sister. It was through the youth group (which is also charismatic and which they advise) that I was led closer to them and to their praying style. They’re the kind that sing and dance for the Lord joyfully.
Tell me about your discernment process. How did you know/decide that religious life was your calling?
My discernment process has been pretty long…I did not grow up going to church, but when I began to do so, I fell in love.
I remember purchasing a missalette, and in the cover was an image of St. Therese of Lisieux. The image caught my attention so much. That’s all I remember, but it struck me and I still remember where I was.
I also remember reading about St. Lucy. I looked at her story because my middle name is Lucía–or Lucy in Spanish. I loved her story and it resonated with me. I knew at that moment I wanted to be consecrated and I admired her courage, chastity, and determination. I wanted to be like her since then. I came home telling my mom I didn’t wish to marry, but to be consecrated like St. Lucy. I was born premature, and was the first child to survive. My mom couldn’t have kids, so she prayed to Our Lady and promised to take me to the Basillica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico). I see this as a type of consecration, even if she was unaware of it. It reminds me of the story of Samuel, when his mom couldn’t have kids and prayed and Samuel was born. Later, God calls Samuel to be a priest.
Of course, years passed by for me as well. The later signs for me have been answered in mass and in prayer. I told God, I’ll go in..maybe in 2 years or so. I felt Him call me closer. I shook my head and gave excuses. Every excuse I threw at Him, He seemed to take care of. I wanted to provide for my family, but at the moment I didn’t have a stable job. I sought, prayed about it, and wouldn’t make it. I asked Him to close the doors and open the ones He wanted me to walk by. And He did. I asked Him to shout because I couldn’t hear Him well. Oh, He even called me out during class. People I didn’t even know (and those I knew) began coming to me (different places, sometimes several times a day) and asking me if I would be interested in religious life, had I considered? Or saying they saw God’s prescence around me..I knew it was His grace and His way of telling me to go in.  I told Him if He wanted me sooner to provide scholarships for my sister. The next day or two she sents me a picture message with an image of an award letter for a scholarship. I said I at least need to save up for her laptop. The next day or so, she brings one from school for her to use throughout the semester.The day I made my decision in my heart, I felt at peace with my heart and happiness radiated, even though I didn’t know how it would all work out. When I set a “date” to go in, the next day in morning prayer (Lauds) I read: “My L ord, Jesus Christ, has placed a ring on my finger; he has adorned me like a bride with a crown” preceeding Psalm 63. And ” He who is the Lord of the angels is the one who I am betrothed.” And ” God is her help.”
Also, I realized that the week I made my decision it was all vocational readings for mass. And the day before I enter is the Annunciation feast day, when Mary says “yes”. Too much coincidence? I did not do it on purpose; I wasn’t aware of these details until afterwards. You can say “what a coincidence.” I say, “Wow, God, I hear You loud.”
Who are your go-to saints?
In prayer, I always address God first throughout my day. I’ve learned to ask daily intercession of our blessed mother, Mary, and through the rosary. I want to say “yes” to whatever God asks of me, but my natural inclination is not always to say “yes,” therefore, I must pray for intercession. This has helped strenghten my vocation and ward off evil waiting to attack, strenghtening me to turn away from sin. My go-to saints are: St. Therese of Lisieux (of the Little Child of Jesus)–I ask her to pray for me, and my patron saints: St. Francis of Assisi & St. Lucy, who was virgin & martyr, consecrating herself to the LORD despite all oppositions, even until death. I find her intercession important, especially in terms of chastity, to ward off lustful desires. Also, recently, the prayer to St. Joseph has also helped.
What advice would you give to people who are discerning vocations?
If anyone is discerning, I urge them to pray about it. Daily mass is recommended and frequent visits to adoration, as well as meditating on scripture and praying the rosary more often will help lead them in the right direction. Pay attention to the signs; be receptive. Is it something you desire? God does not force a vocation, it is an alignment between what one deeply desires and what He has in store for our happiness. Join discernment groups, such as the Come and See meetings (Vengan y Vean in Spanish), inquire, and don’t be scared too peek!
As of this blog post, my friend is now starting her novitiate, so please pray for her!

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