UNITED BY BLOOD AND RELIGION
1 of 4 Sisters in Holy Family Congregation Discusses Upcoming Beatification
By Patricia Navas
LA SEU D’URGELL, Spain, AUG. 26, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The four Lorenzo sisters who found God calling them to the same religious vocation are now ready to celebrate the beatification of their founder next October.
The Congregation of the Holy Family of Urgel is awaiting the beatification of Ana Maria Janer, which will take place Oct. 8 in La Seu d’Urgell, Lerida, Spain.
“I live it in unison with my sisters: It is a moment of graces that we must be grateful for to God and to the Church,” explained Visi Lorenzo, who has just celebrated her 73rd birthday and coordinates the spiritual and religious care at Sant Hospital de La Seu d’Urgell.
ZENIT spoke with Visi about the beatification and about her daily life, which she shares with her physical and her religious sisters.
In addition to Visi and the three other Lorenzo daughters who are members of the Holy Family congregation, there is another nun in the family: a member of the Congregation of the Holy Guardian Angel. The sixth daughter, who completes the family, is married.
ZENIT: How did the paths converge of four of the six sisters of your family in the congregation founded by Mother Janer?
Visi: Although we were born in a small village of Palencia — Santillan de la Vega — our parents sent us to study at the school of the Congregation of the Holy Family in Masnou, near Barcelona, because our father valued very much that women should have an education. We entered the novitiate in the order of age, first Araceli, then Conchita, later myself at 18 and finally Enedina.
ZENIT: Did the decision of your older sisters influence you in choosing the religious life?
Visi: I acknowledge that perhaps they did, but it is God who makes use of intermediaries that he puts in the life of each person to discover his/her vocation.
Then, each one made her own personal choice and her own path. I, for example, went to Latin America when I was very young. To take up what it means to give oneself fully to the Lord is something I have learned day by day; it has been a journey.
And I am very happy. My life is a continual thanksgiving to God. I couldn’t choose anything else because it is what I have lived profoundly and what has filled me.
While the Lord wills to give us health and strength, our life is for him, we already said it to him one day and for ever, following the charism of Mother Janer: To serve you always in everything.
The surroundings, the village also helped: There were no amusements, I was surrounded by care, and we were educated when very small in all realms: everything stays inside and grows.
In my decision for the religious life the teacher and parish priest of our village were also influential, also the women religious in the school where I studied and, above all, our parents.
ZENIT: What role did your parents play?
Visi: We really owe to them our vocation to life and to the religious life. They were parents who lived the religious dimension profoundly.
Every day, at nightfall, our mother would read to us on the saint of the day and would give us indications so that we would try to live his/her more specific virtues the next day.
When our father arrived, we prayed the rosary. If one of us was falling asleep, he would give her the rosary so that she would count the Hail Marys.
We prayed before going to sleep; we gave thanks when we got up in the mornings, we said grace — what was normal in a Christian family at that time. But above all, they educated us by their example.
Now my life is a continuous thanksgiving to the Lord because I can’t do anything else. And I hope that we will continue to help one another mutually to make this world of ours more beautiful every day, where one can live better and in greater peace.
ZENIT: Do you get together with your sisters? Do you share family moments?
Visi: Not very often, but for example the third week of August, we spent four days together, with the communities of my two sisters who live in Barcelona and in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. We were able to follow on television the World Youth Day being held in Madrid.
ZENIT: What did you think of that youth meeting with the Pope?
Visi: It impressed me very much. I certainly hoped that it would be profound for young people, but I never imagined the proportions of profundity, of profound living. One could see in the images how they prayed, with what recollection.
We pray that it will bear fruits, that young people will wake up and want to be better; that they transform our societies. We also gave thanks that such a grandiose event with so many people could be held in such an orderly way, and for the devotion of those young people.
It was a time of graces and I have thought a lot about the forthcoming beatification of our founder, Mother Janer. I think that, in a small way, the life of the Spirit will also be manifested, as it was manifested in Madrid.
ZENIT: What does the forthcoming beatification of Mother Janer represent for you?
Visi: For me it means a very important moment in my personal life, what the motto chosen for the beatification really says: To love and to serve always in everything, especially the weakest. This is what I have tried to do, but it is a moment of grace to be lived with more profundity.
Ana Maria is very important, personally and for what she has meant for humanity, in her time. She is an outstanding figure of some one who loves God and her brothers profoundly because she lets herself be loved by God. In the measure that I let myself be loved by God, I will be able to love others as she did.
It is a time to thank God who wishes, through the Church, to make manifest and make more visible that figure who gave so much to the world, who has left such an imprint with her love and selflessness, as Jesus did.
For me she is a constant draw toward the future. There are so many people who need us as persons who really love! Ana Maria Janer had a very beautiful phrase that says: “Firmness when necessary, tenderness and charity always.”
I am living the forthcoming beatification in unison with my sisters: It is a time of graces for which we must thank God and the Church and if we allow it, which can mark us.
At least here in La Seu d’Urgell it is being lived, people are asking more about her, her figure is being rediscovered. God passes through Ana Maria to tell us: Wake up! God wants you ready like her, bread for others.
I often feel like bread that people eat and I pray that it be good bread for others. A person doesn’t have a minute, but others have needs, and I do it with joy; if I have taken this step, it has been to be for others.
ZENIT: What would you say to a youth who is wondering about a possible vocation to consecrate himself to God?
Visi: From my personal experience and from the affection I have for young people, I would say that they must not be afraid if they feel Jesus’ call; that they must follow it, that they must cultivate it, that they must seek help, that Jesus is with them.
When I think how he has been leading my life, it’s like a continuous miracle. That they must not be afraid to let him enter their lives because he will do marvels in them. If they feel that call, they must feel privileged.
They must also create a climate of prayer, silence, removing themselves somewhat from the noise society gives us, allowing themselves to be led by a guide, or with good friendships. It is he who does everything.
It is lovely to be able to consecrate one’s life to God. My experience in my family is that we are very joyful for having taken this step and for having given our life to the Lord.
And I would say to them: “Society needs you, we need vocations to the priestly and religious life,” and, if they wish to come to the Congregation of the Holy Family, we will welcome them with open arms because we are ready to receive everyone as Ana Maria Janer did.
And also to those of us who surround young people, I would say to help them in these questions that they pose themselves, that we be close to them because they also need the help of society — as Ana Maria Janer did, who helped many young girls and led them to something that was worthwhile — that we be able to awaken in young people the need to give themselves to others.
[Translation by ZENIT]