I am a daughter of fisherfolk: Mr. Jacky and Mrs. Ropin Godinho. I was born in a small village called Devbag in Malvan, Sindhudurg, Mharashtra- We are six children: three sisters and three brothers. I am the eldest. My parents educated us and provided all that they could through their hard work. They gave us a deep spiritual foundation through evening prayer (Rosary), and through their deep faith in God. Both my parents always prayed and searched for God’s will. My father used to return without a single fish, after a whole night of fishing. Yet he faithfully used to say, “One day God will fulfill all my hard work”. When he did get fish he would remind us of his faith: “See I told you He will give; have faith, God knows what we need.”
My father was a very strict man but my uncle, my father’s brother who together with his wife and daughter also lived with us, was very loving. We often used to be with him. He died when I was nine years old. Since I was close to him his death was a real shock for me and it affected me a lot. When I was in the novitiate I realized that ‘I had buried myself with my uncle.’ Later I overcame this. After his death, one priest visited my aunt and he spontaneously told me that I will be a sister. In a strange way, that was my first experience of God’s call. From that time onwards, I told everybody that I am going to be a sister, though I had no idea of what that meant.
I had a very friendly relationship with my mother, who influenced me through her patience, humility, hardworking nature and courage. Several times I heard my parents say “Tujekhoshi jau Deva.”(May Your will be done, Oh God) Somewhere this is rooted deep down in me and helped me in my discernment. I learned to wait for God to answer. I did that before entering the religious life. I had a very friendly relationship with each of my siblings, too. They respect me as their elder sister and seek me out for guidance. Despite all the ups and downs a family has to go through, we are a happy, respected family in my village.
I always feel the foundation of my prayer is Mother Mary. Devotion to her led me to love Jesus. As a child I used to say the novena to the Sacred Heart on my own, after hearing a woman from our neighborhood reciting “sweet Heart of Jesus, be thou my love”. I liked the words and found them in a hymn: the novena to the Sacred Heart. From that time onwards, I started praying this novena.
After my SSC, I wanted to continue my studies. Sr. Pratibha Pinto RSCJ had already visited my family. Somehow, she came to know that I had the desire to join religious life, so she kept in touch with me when I was in college. During this time, there was a lot of confusion within me regarding my future.
I met a young man who wanted to marry me and waited for my “yes” for two years. I was serious about my career so I didn’t bother more about him, and I also thought that if this is the man God has chosen for me, he will come to me in any case, but God had other plans for me.
After my studies, I worked for a few years and so I was earning. However, I was not happy. I was searching for God’s will in my life. One day in 2006, I got the courage to call Sr. Pratibha to say I want to join religious life. She invited me to “come and see” but I wanted to join without doing so. Thus, gradually my life of formation in the Society began. I was attracted to the spirit of the Society - “Prayer and Interior life” - to discover and reveal the love of the Heart of Jesus. On February 2, 2010, I made my first vows. After making the vows, I felt like I was carried through by my God.
Throughout my life and in particular during my formation days, in many different and small ways I encountered God in my life. I realized that I am never alone. Ups and downs are part of any life. It is important to choose what God has planned for me. If I am living my life according to God’s plan it can be meaningful. Hence leave it to God.
Today, I am filled with gratitude for all that I have received from my God, for His love & blessings; for my family, neighbours, and the sisters from my Society,. All have played a crucial role in my life. I said my final yes on January 28, 2018. I experienced the intense love of Jesus as my reward. The following words and the second image you see here, which I drew during my thirty-day retreat before my final vows, are still fresh in my mind:
Oh... my love, my God and my all, You chose me to be Yours. Your beloved, You chose to dwell in me as my breath, never to be separated from You. We are one and I am overwhelmed with Your love, Jesus. I cannot be anything else but to live Your love and Your Life. I embrace Your cross where the fount of love and life overflowed. With Your invitation and grace, I want to be that life-giving water for your mission. I unite myself with three vows of Obedience, Poverty, and Chastity, trusting not in my ability but in Your fidelity, love, and grace to live them. AMEN! Alleluia!