Resurrection: Jesus Gives Strength to Go on
Faced with the suffering caused by war, natural disasters, the hunger and so many other challenges causing fear and worry, it may seem difficult to experience the joy and hope of Jesus’ Resurrection.
However, the experience of resurrection is part of every human life, who rely on God. You may have experienced this inexplicable power of the resurrection at some time in your life that gave you joy and courage to go on, even when it seemed impossible.
Such is the testimony of Sr. Annabelle Pedraya SSpS who shares her resurrection experience enabling her to recognize her gifts and accept herself as she is.
An Artist in the Kitchen
Sr. Annabelle is from the Philippines, assigned in charge of Kitchen at the SSpS Generalate, in Rome. Singing has been a natural gift since early childhood from the age of five. She never studied music, but possesses an angelic and enchanting voice, capable of elevating people during liturgical celebrations and recreational moments in the community.
Similar is the way she prepares food, giving it special flavor and taste, especially for festive days. She never studied cooking either, but her skill did not go unnoticed, as she was invited to Rome to take charge of the kitchen. She is happy to share with others the God-given gifts and turn them into prayer and thanksgiving.
For this very reason, she created a YouTube Channel where she posts her songs, some of which are her own compositions. She has already posted more than 100 songs sung by her. To listen to her songs, click the link and please subscribe to her channel.
Experience of Resurrection
In her childhood, Annabelle realized that Jesus was very important to her and made a silent promise to not to miss Holy Mass. As a youngster, she was attracted to a printed phrase in an SSpS vocation poster: “Yes, you! You can make the world alive”. Moved by these words, she came the sisters, studied with them, taught in school by the sisters and then entered the Congregation.
Before taking her first vows, Annabelle recalls that she was often overwhelmed by her difficulties of low self-esteem, compared herself to others, and could not see anything good in herself. Besides, it was difficult to understand that God chose her and she doubted her vocation. So, she decided to ask for a six-month extension of time for her novitiate. It was then that she had a resurrection experience that transformed her.
During a retreat she was invited to meditate on the dry bones (Ezekiel 37: 1-14) and she felt empty, restless and lifeless. Her body was trembling and perspiring. Then she realized that she was not alone: she saw a light within her and heard Jesus telling her – “I came to redeem you”.
She explained: “At that moment I came back to life, I started to move my fingers, I shook the dust off the bones, I stood up and opened my eyes”.
She said, “I am very grateful for this resurrection experience that has really given me life. I have fallen down and my bones were crushed. But this experience guided me and gives strength to bear the pain and face many challenges. It is Jesus who redeemed me and picked me up. I can say ‘I have seen the Lord!’ – because that day I had the joy of meeting the Risen One and He raised me up!”
Passion for Mission
Sr Annabelle recalls the phrase “Yes, you can make the world alive” . She shares about her many joys in missionary life with the various groups she has worked with, especially the youth, choral groups and indigenous people in the mountains… and she adds that discovering her gifts and being able to share them is her way of making the world alive and this gives her true joy.
Her dream of becoming a missionary sister is realized. Now she is dreaming of becoming a singer, and her thoughts are toward moving into mission in other cultures. She started learning Spanish and hopes to be sent to a Spanish-speaking Country after her term of service in Rome.
Meanwhile, she continues to sharpen her senses to give flavor to what she cooks, her ears to music, her eyes to beauty, and to develop creativity, bringing more life to everything she does.
By Sr. Ana Elidia Neves, SSpS