From the Waves of the Pacific to Rome…
I was born in the kingdom of the Tongan Islands, which is in Oceania. Life on my island was tranquil, running with the rhythm of the unceasing waves. My twin brother and I are the oldest of seven children. How, then, did the Lord find me in a land so far away, and not even in a Catholic family but a family of Protestants? The Lord makes use of diverse means to reach those whom He wishes to call…It was thus also with myself.
I had attended public schools, but when I was nine years old, my mother took me to a Catholic religious for piano lessons. I do not know why she took me to the Sisters, but one sees that in this there was a plan of God neither my mother nor I then understood. Very slowly, with the passage of time, I began to be interested in the Sisters’ way of life, their vocation. My piano teacher Sister, every time I went to her for lessons, took me first into the chapel to pray and showed me how to make the Sign of the Cross.
During those times, I remember now, curiosity was born inside me; the strong desire to know the truth of the Catholic Faith. Later, in 1993, I received a scholarship and left for New Zealand. There, besides studying, I sought to deepen my knowledge of the Catholic faith and understand why I felt attracted to the religious life. I wanted to know the truth about God, to discover his plan for me, and to live the life which permitted me to grow in his love.
One day in the Wellington Cathedral, during a meeting of young people, I saw two Sisters in gray habits. When I noticed them, my heart hammered, the desire to speak with them was so strong. I prayed, “My God, give me the courage to go and speak with these Sisters.”
I went up to them and they were soon answering all of my questions. After this meeting I knew which road was mine in life: I wanted to become a missionary Sister.
The one problem was that I was Protestant…
My uncle lived in New Zealand. He himself had become a Catholic priest, and he supported me in the difficult journey. One day I expressed my desire to receive Communion. Knowing that my entire family was Protestant, he counseled me to think seriously before becoming Catholic. Every time I mentioned it, he always repeated the same words, but I had already decided, and no one could stop me.
I went to Holy Mass. I sought every opportunity to know better the new faith which I wanted to embrace. I owe a great deal to the religious men and women of my country who were close to me during this time.
I heard that among Catholics there was the custom to make a retreat. I went to the monastery of the Cistercian Sisters. It was an unimaginable experience, a time of true blessing by God. I came to know God as my true Friend, I found peace, courage, and my faith became stronger. After those days of retreat I was sure that the Lord truly called me to follow Him in the religious life.
I returned to my island and decided to speak with my parents about all of my desires. At the beginning they did not like my idea, saying that the religious life is a difficult one, but at the end they let me follow the desire of my heart. for one year I prepared myself, and in 1994 I received the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and Confirmation from the hands of Cardinal Thomas Williams.
In 1995 I was able to enter the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver. I entered in New Zealand, in Wellington, and in 1996 left for Italy to begin my formation. My new faith and the reason for my call both deepened. I thank the Lord infinitely, Who placed beside me the people who helped me to be able to know and to love Him above everything.
I made my First Profession in Trent, Italy, in 1999. My parents and the other members of my family came to be with me in those very important days. I must thank the Lord for giving them the courage to come from so far away; I thank my family who respected my decision to become Catholic and a religious. All of this makes me truly happy.
I still remember my father’s words on the day of my profession: “That which is important in life is to be happy.” My mother, on the other hand, fasted that day to unite herself with the offering of her daughter for the Church and to ask the grace of the Lord.
The tranquil life near the rhythm of the waves of my beloved Pacific Ocean was abandoned in order to be a disciple, a bride of Christ wherever He wills. He seeks open hearts who recognize Him as the one Lord of life, who welcome his extraordinary gift of a religious vocation.
If today He calls you, open your heart; welcome his word, and with courage say, “Here I am, send me.”
~Sr. Losaline Fakatou