I was born in South Korea in 1981. At the time of my birth, I had to undergo surgery because of a serious intestinal disease; so I was baptized immediately because my parents and doctors thought I would die soon. But after the surgery I survived, and it was like a miracle. This has left a deep impact in my life, even as I had to be in hospital two more times in my adolescence.
My parents are Catholics who got to know each other in the parish church. Through them, I experienced and learned to cherish fruitful catholic traditions. When I had my first communion, for example, the impression that continues to remain in me is that I touched Jesus with my hand and received him deeply in my heart.
I met the RSCJ for the first time in the University, where they worked as campus ministers. In Korea, sisters who do not wear the religious dress and veil are rarely seen. So that was a new reality for me, and especially as I got to know about religious life from them. To me, they looked just like normal persons who had no privileges and who were like lay people who lived very simple lives and had a mission.
When I was 20 years old, I experienced my family’s suffering brought about by the illness of my teenage brother, who had to go through several surgeries. This was a very hard time for our family. At that time, too, I was working as a special education teacher in high school, and I could hear within me a call to live a meaningful life. I found myself attracted to the spiritual life, and felt I could meet God through prayer at the retreat house run by the RSCJ. During that retreat, I was able to enter deeply into myself and receive the grace of freedom, even from the sorrows of my family. That was the first time that I found meaning, even in the pain. I then felt the desire to stay with God all throughout my life. Two years later, I entered the Society of Sacred Heart.
After my first vows in 2011, I worked in Sacred Heart High School as a special education teacher. During that time I felt an insecurity that was triggered by what I perceived to be others’ prejudices towards my students who had disabilities. There were times when these evoked anger in me; but later I began to see that I was responding to the situation in the way that I was doing to cope up with my brother’s difficulties. I realized that I was identifying with my brother’s feelings during his illness, and re-living all this through my students. That was a very painful discovery for me; but I am grateful for that opportunity in my religious life to see more clearly and to grow in freedom. From that moment onwards, I became more and more aware of how Jesus has actually been with me, through my family, the campus ministry, and the retreat house.
In 2019, I joined the probation group in preparation for our final vows. With my eight lovely co-probanists, I had good opportunities to widen my heart and open my eyes. Most special to me was the 30-day-retreat, for there I had an encounter with Jesus, who had been waiting for me — from my days of being in hospital during my childhood, to the moments of my brother’s surgeries, and through all of my efforts to find myself, onwards until that time when I was in probation at the Villa Lante in Rome. During the hard moments when I could not find him and I felt sad, he always invited me to take his hand and he showed me how his love is present in the universe. I am so overwhelmed by his love for me — a love that has been there from the beginning; a love that embraced all my pain, my joy, my history! And I could say, “I desire to follow you all throughout my life. I am but a little point in the universe, but I want to proclaim your love to the world.”
Part of our tradition in the Society of the Sacred Heart is for each probation group to receive a name and a “devise” (motto, in French). When we were given the name “Love that transforms” and the devise “Proclaim my love to all nations; do not be afraid I am with you always,” I was so happy because these really capture my journey, and our journey as a group. With my friends, I felt deep joy and conformity with Jesus.
Now after final profession, I am filled with hope and I desire to proclaim the love that I have received. Indeed, the joy of living a transformed life can only be possible through his infinite love. I am grateful to God for giving me this opportunity to live the consecrated life. It is in this hope that I now return and start anew in “Galilee” (Matthew 28:10).