When I decided to give myself completely to Christ and His Church and pursue my priestly vocation at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, I would have never thought that Christ, through the seminary of the Archdiocese of Denver, would have sent me to Gallup, New Mexico for a poverty immersion. The day we were scheduled to depart for New Mexico, the seminary told us where we were going and who we were going with. I was paired up with one of my closest friends in the seminary to come and experience what the Little Sisters of the Poor live every day. As I got off the bus, I was having mixed emotions: nervous, but excited. When we arrived, the Little Sisters at Villa Guadalupe welcomed us in a very charitable way.
When I first saw the Residents, I was only able to see them as children, children of God. I remember thinking how humorous the Lord was putting me in a nursing home for an immersion experience and in a Catholic elementary school for my apostolate back in Denver. The elderly are truly a blessing to us just as children are a blessing. They need people to care for them in a loving way. The Little Sisters of the Poor do just this; they care for the elderly in a loving way.
The first few days, I discovered what the Little Sisters did for the elderly. I was amazed to see how the sisters cared for their Residents. They show true love. The sisters give themselves completely to the service of God and to others. I see the sisters showing love where there seems to be no love. They show hope where there seems to be no hope. This example of service and selflessness that the sisters show is a beautiful and amazing example that anyone can take and apply to their own lives, especially seminarians. I discovered my own potential to be of service to others.This immersion made me realize that I must be more selfless and be more of service to others, and to completely trust in the Lord. Truly, I believe that the Little Sisters of the Poor and their service to others are a blessing to the Church and to the entire world. This has been a wonderful experience that will surely aid me greatly as I continue my studies at St. John Vianney Seminary. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. St. Jeanne Jugan, pray for us.
Miguel Mendoza, Archdiocese of Denver