by Esthefany Archila
My moment of spiritual enlightenment unexpectedly took place in the small town of Bladensburg, MD right outside of Washington D.C. Traveling around the country through my different experiences of service, I interacted and connected with dozens of people. As each person opened up and shared their story, I was able to see their brokenness. At this point, I had started to see my own brokenness as well. Before walking into the Sister’s home, I had been personally struggling with the questions “What makes me feel most alive?” and “How was I centering myself in my everyday life?” I almost felt lost and disoriented- not fully knowing how I could connect with myself.
Experiencing the Vincentian hospitality with the Daughters of Charity offered a safe space in which I was able to explore my own spirituality and how I could, in fact, connect with myself. I was able to hear the Sisters’ stories and their passion for social justice and life in general was so inspiring. I was able to see firsthand, how the Sisters pulled strength from their relationship with God. This awoke my own curiosity about my own spirituality. After years of not questioning what God meant to me and what role I wanted Him to play in my life, I prayed, reflected, and ultimately recognized that the struggles of a broken family and the realities of needing to look for a different support system in my life was a part of my story. It wasn’t all bad and it wasn’t all good, but connecting with the Sisters helped me realize that I was grateful because those moments were the ones that had gotten me to step through the doors of the Sisters’ home.