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  My Witness

Vol. 4, No. 3, July, 1999

My Story of Christ in Me
By Josie Duran

"You were set aside and left to die," were my mother's words when she shared with me about my birth. I was born into a Catholic family in New Mexico and was raised on a farm, the youngest of eight children. My mother had a difficult pregnancy and at the time of my birth almost died. So the physician concentrated on her instead of me since I had a bad heart and wasn't expected to live.

Being born of Spanish parents who spoke very little English made my elementary school years difficult. Those years of study were a struggle but the real suffering came from the teachers, the children, and even the cook who laughed at my pronunciation.

Good Catholic Christian examples were not lacking in my life. When my father was home he would teach us different prayers and would pray the rosary with us. My mother was full of the Lord's wisdom and had a loving heart and was for me my living bible. She accepted every situation in her life "for the love of God."

After graduating from high school in 1958 I married Tom, travelled much and had five children over the years.

In 1966 my father died and three years later so did my mother. Because of her death I thought my world had ended. Who was I to live for? Who really cared for me? All I am, and all I ever hope to be I owe to my mother. And now she was gone. Although I had my husband and children I felt very alone.

The focus of my attention became more and more myself. Before, I had allowed others to walk all over me, but no more. I will get educated, get a full time job, and climb to the top. And that is exactly what I did. Happy now? No!

Then two years after my mother's death the Lord gave me a beautiful religious experience - life after death. This caused a thirst and a hunger within me to know Him better. And so my search began.

I started reading the Bible; Mass became alive; the sacrament of reconciliation took on new meaning. I knew now that the physician who delivered me had set me aside to die but the Lord Jesus had set me aside to live. He had a work for me to do. All I am and all I ever hope to be I owe to my Lord Jesus Christ.

As I continued my search, I attended Scripture classes, joined a prayer community, made a Life in the Spirit Retreat and was able to forgive those teachers, children, and even the cook who made fun of me in elementary school. I left my job which was contrary to my beliefs and morals, attended the evangelization training offered by the Sisters of the New Covenant and became a Companion of theirs. Trials and difficulties are still many but I have experienced a new power, the Holy Spirit, to deal with them.

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own" (Philippians 3:12).

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