Larissa

Growing up in a Catholic family in Austria, I was taught to pray and to love the Lord from a very young age. I loved my faith very much, but as I started going to middle school, doubts about God`s love separated me more and more from Him. Although I still went to Mass at that time, I tried with great effort to fit into the world – I was leading a double life. 
A turning point was when I was invited to participate in teaching music to poor children in the Roma-slums in Slovakia. There I fell in love with the poor, and I started to ask myself deep questions about the meaning and purpose of my life. After graduating from high school, I moved to Vienna to study at the University. Throughout these years in

high school and also at the University, I was searching for a love so great that it would fulfill my heart completely, but nothing the world offered me could bring me that peace. I thought I could find it in superficial pleasures, but as this turned out to be unsuccessful, I came to the point where I simply tried to silence this longing within me.


            After a restless time, I realized that going to Sunday Mass was the only time during the week where this thirst I was experiencing was actually quenched, and the Lord gave me the grace to follow this stirring that was calling me back into His Church. I felt Jesus asking me to stop living a double life and to live for Him alone, just as I did as a child. Although this was scary at first, He brought me back to my first love, the love of my childhood – the Lord led me back to Himself and to the Sacraments, and I found a home in the Church and also in our Catholic campus ministry. 

 

            One night in prayer I had a deep encounter with Jesus, where He asked me if I wanted to give Him my whole, undivided heart – I could only say “yes”, not realizing this could mean religious life. Together with friends from my Catholic campus ministry, I grew in my relationship with the Lord and I fell in love with Him more and more, especially through adoration. Over many months, the thought of responding to the question that Jesus asked me that night by becoming a sister grew in my heart. Through daily adoration, Mass and spiritual direction, the gentle hand of Jesus led me to the point where I could say “yes” wholeheartedly. After many months of discernment with other communities, I finally met one of the CFR friars at a screening of the movie “Outcasts” in Vienna. I was overjoyed when I heard after the movie that there were CFR sisters in New York.


            In that encounter I found what I was looking for to answer Jesus' call. In visiting the CFR sisters, I met the living expression of my innermost joy and love, a place that seemed to be designed for my heart in every detail. Especially the life of prayer, centered on the Eucharist, was exactly what I was looking for and everything about it felt so natural to me. In spending time with the sisters my heart was filled with a deep joy. It was as if Jesus showed me a family and a home that He Himself prepared for me. I was finally at peace. With God's grace and the intercession of Our Lady, I entered on September 30, 2018.