My name is Niamh, and I am 25 years old. I met the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother when I was 21. I met them briefly during that summer but didn’t think much of it and forgot about it shortly after. Even though at that time I was a practicing Catholic—I prayed the Rosary daily and went to Mass daily—my relationship with God was very fragile. I became aware that the world really didn’t love me, and I relied more on my faith. But I still had one foot in the world. I was very materialistic and found my joy in shopping or the way I looked. This joy was never lasting but I couldn’t see why. I was practicing my Faith and I had all I could want, but I had no joy. My soul was restless, and my heart was empty. A few months after I had met the Sisters, someone passed me the email address of Sr. Ruth Maria O'Callaghan, the Irish sister who was in Roscommon, their only community in Ireland at the time. At first, I didn’t use it and didn’t know what I would even say. I was so ashamed of the way I had been living and I thought that was it. I would go to Mass, pray and continue to live in the world and that was it. But this was getting boring and I couldn’t find a purpose in this; I might as well just go all in on the world. So, I decided to email Sr. Ruth Maria and speak with her about God’s plan for me.
Soon after, she and another sister came down to my prayer group to show us the movie of Sr. Clare Crockett, All or Nothing. This documentary, even though it is only an hour in length, had a profound effect on me, and in a moment, I longed for this life with Christ. The joy Sr. Clare had and the zeal for her Faith was what my heart was aching for. She wasn’t superficial or mediocre and lived totally for Christ by the Cross. I saw that this was the thing that I was missing; without that desire for truly giving my life to Christ I was getting bored of my lukewarm faith. Sr. Clare showed me I had to work hard for this faith and filled me with the desire to truly give my life for Christ. That summer, I went to spend some time in their house in Spain. Here I saw Sr. Clare wasn’t the only Sister who really gave of herself totally but there were many Sisters there doing the same. This highlighted for me the very superficial Christian life I had been living. While it wasn’t an easy experience, it was, I can say, the most fruitful experience of my faith journey and without it I wouldn’t be practicing still. To see my misery was really a gift because it showed me the mercy of God and that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. The only Sisters I knew were in Ireland, and besides an hola here and there I understood nothing. The only time I had been to Spain was to a party island years before, so really, I had no idea where I was. I had to place all my trust in Christ and rely fully on his strength. The love of Our Lady and Christ shone from everyone there, and I felt like I had known them all my life. Someone might ask, if I don’t have a vocation why would I visit nuns. I've been pleading with all my friends to go since I came home because I learned what it was to live a real Christian life and that when you strive for holiness how grace can flow.
Being there with the Sisters made me desire a real relationship with Our Lady. When I was there with the Sisters, we went to visit the Marian site in Garabandal where in this little village I felt the presence of my Mother so strongly in my heart. It was an amazing experience to really see how much Our Lady loved me. Every night when I was there or when it got tough, I would just clench my rosary beads and for love of Our Lady, I could keep pushing to overcome myself. Shortly after I came home, the Sisters set up a community close to where I was from, which meant I could stay close to the Sisters and continue to try and live all I learnt even at home. What a gift! I didn't enter the Home of the Mother of Youth right away because I thought I would be ok on my own and that I didn’t need to make a commitment. How patient the Lord is! It was only in the 2020 lockdown when I was home without any community or sacraments that I struggled a lot. So I contacted one of the Sisters close by asking if I could make the commitment. On the 20th of May last year which was the birthday of the Sister I met first, Sr. Ruth Maria—which I think was no coincidence—I entered the Home of the Mother of the Youth. After two months of no sacraments, I was able to attend Holy Mass and receive confession, and I entered the Home after. While for many this might not seem like a big deal, for me this was huge. I was able to receive the Lord in His mercy and do what Our Lady had been asking me to do. I felt like I could have gone to Heaven that day, but the Lord isn’t done with me yet! Thank God for his goodness and mercy!