"Only One Thing Remains The Same"
I wanted to show every lonely kid, rebellious teenager, successful young professional, struggling parent, experienced grandparent, that there really is a purpose to life, that it is worth living and that there is something bigger than us and this world!
Your Kingdom Come!
|Lisa Small, right, and two co-workers|
Passion, restlessness, God’s Hand and the testimony of
the Legionaries of Christ and consecrated members of Regnum Christi
were the main means God used to convince a New
Zealand girl, tears in her eyes, to leap onto an
airplane destined for the unknown. God’s task was not
easy but in the end His love won me for
Himself, and I made the biggest leap of faith I
had ever made… This was the start of life-changing,
purifying, joy-filled journey of my co-worker year!
Although of South African
birth, I immigrated with my parents to New Zealand at
age twelve. It was there that the plan God
had in mind for me from all eternity unfolded.
belong to a family of five: my father who
isn´t “religious”, my mother who is Portuguese and my two
younger sisters, Michele, sixteen and Sara, fourteen. I was
brought up going to mass on Sundays but was never
really interested in church and my mother actually had to
force me to go because I would much rather have
hung out with my friends and boyfriend than go to
a boring mass. I didn’t attend a Catholic school,
nor did I know much about my Catholic Faith, let
alone would I pray.
My faith has never been very
strong but when I look back, I was very spiritually
sensitive in my first eight years of life; I would
sing to Jesus and not be able to go to
sleep without mum praying with me every night. The
problems began when I moved from South Africa to New
Zealand and I lost all self-confidence. I wanted to
be accepted in society and that meant jeopardizing the morals
my parents had always taught me. From the time
I was fourteen to sixteen I would have done anything
to be cool. Religion was totally uncool, so I
never admitted that I went to mass every Sunday.
I didn´t really pray unless I was really in trouble.
And yet God didn’t let me go without a
In my senior year at high school, my life turned
very dark. Even though I had everything going for
me, I didn’t understand why although I had everything the
world told me would make me happy, I still felt
so empty, lost and uncertain. I didn’t want to
exist. Everywhere I turned to find help left me even
emptier than I began. And so when I was
at the worst, God shone a little beam into my
heart and in a week of immense grace I turned
to God for help. In that week my whole
life changed. I started going to retreats and youth
group, doing things in my parish, praying and even enjoying
mass. I began to realize that I am worth something
and that I mean a lot to God. All
of a sudden I began to love life and became
very thirsty for the truth. I found it in
the Catholic Church.
I went to a public school and didn´t
have any religious friends, so
I began to drift from
my friends as I realized I couldn´t share my faith
with them. The same thing happened with my first
serious boyfriend, and I finished high school losing my boyfriend,
friends, and not going to university, despite my scholarships.
God had stripped me of everything so as to purify
me and get me ready for the next plan He
had in mind.
|Lisa Small, far left, and her family|
I began working at an insurance company,
but every day I was doing something for the Church,
like leading the youth group, singing at masses, helping to
organize retreats, giving talks and testimonies. For the first
time in my life I was living a true life
of grace. I was going to daily mass, bi-weekly
confession, weekly holy hours, doing apostolate, having a pure, healthy
relationship, and spending more time with my family, my parents
especially. I was very happy, but I still wasn’t
That was when I found out about the Co-worker
program, a year or more of volunteering full-time in a
Regnum Christi apostolate, wherever the Church needs. I prayed
and discerned a long time and decided to do it
wanted to be a co-worker because I wanted to really
give back to God what He had given me.
I wanted to do something huge for my faith and
be a witness of Christ and His gospel. I
wanted to surrender myself fully to Him because He had
given me back my life! I felt the restlessness
in my heart to do something about the current situation
in the world and I wanted my contribution to make
a difference. I wanted to show every lonely kid,
rebellious teenager, successful young professional, struggling parent, experienced grandparent, that
there really is a purpose to life, that it is
worth living and that there is something bigger than us
and this world!
So I arrived in America, uncertain of
everything. I thought that I would be the only “normal”
girl there; that all the other missionaries would be really
pious and holy. But I was pleasantly surprised to
find them all exactly like me—just with different accents.
They were pious, holy, very cool, and totally on fire
I had the best year of my
life in Michigan living with fourteen other young women from
seven countries. The friendships I made there will last
forever because we grew as close as sisters. I
loved working with the girls, especially seeing them knowing and
experiencing Jesus Christ as a real and dynamic person in
their lives! My year gave me all the tools
I need for whatever vocation to which God will call
me, whether consecrated or married, because God found me and
I found Him. Through my prayer life and the
amazing adventures I had—from Rome in the Jubilee year to
the poorest towns in Mexico—I realized that only one thing
remains the same – Jesus Christ!
My leap of faith radically
changed my life, but it was what I was seeking
and what made me the happiest: the gift God
gives to those who give to Him!
Lisa Small attended the candidacy program for discernment of the
consecrated life during the summer of 2001, and consecrated her
life to Jesus Christ in the Regnum Christi Movement on
August 25, 2001. She is currently in her first
year of formation at Mater Ecclesiae College in Rhode Island,
praying, studying and working to be a full-time apostle at
the disposal of the needs of the Catholic Church.
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