|Céline is currently a youth director at the Le Chatelard Academy in Switzerland.|
I am the youngest in a family of seven children.
I always felt very loved within my family and this
helped me in my relationship with God as I learned
to let myself be loved by him.
I enjoy saying that
I am from a town lost in the northeast of
France, in Anjou, called Chazé-Henry, where there is nothing very
special but I lived there very happily nonetheless. My family
was blessed with a very simple and authentic faith, where
charity and a good sense of humor were commonplace. My
parents taught me how to pray when I was very
young. I got into the habit of falling asleep amidst
books of the saints and writings of the Holy Father.
At first I wanted to be a Carmelite like Saint
Therese of Lisieux but later the idea of being a
missionary in China seemed to be more attractive.
Outside of my
family, especially at school, I knew that I unfortunately could
not put much faith in what people would say or
teach about the faith. My parents were the only reliable
sources around and I trusted them 100% and I went
to them with all my doubts and questions.
I felt God’s
call when I was seventeen. It was during the closing
Mass of a Catholic congress in Paris that my older
brother and his wife had invited me to. It was
a simple moment, which didn’t surprise me too much being
that my upbringing had prepared the seed of my vocation.
the way home I closed my eyes and tried to
meditate on the meaning of that calling. When I got
home I made Christ a promise: I will give my
life for you. And to make sure that it wouldn’t
be just a passing moment I wrote it in a
notebook and signed my name to it, but it remained
a secret between him and me. My life continued as
normal and happy as ever as I knew that God
would show me the how, when and where later ...
went by and the moment of choosing a career arrived.
To my great surprise most of my friends were choosing
things that they really didn’t want to do for the
rest of their lives. But my plans were set: I
would go to Paris, study philosophy and learn more about
what Saint Thomas Aquinas taught so as to draw closer
to God and strengthen my faith.
At the university I found
two worlds which were both very new to me: Saint
Thomas, with his doctrine so clear and so profound, and
the divisions within the Church. In fact, there was so
much criticism that I never suspected that it hurt me.
At the same time I experienced a great longing to
work to help unify the Church.
I soon discovered that two
of my classmates were members of Regnum Christi. When
I first met them I was immediately drawn to their
joy and enthusiam but especially their universal charity and their
apostolic zeal. I wanted to be a Catholic like they
were. But at the same time I didn’t want to
get involved with any particular Movement so as to remain
We became good friends. Through her, I found how I wanted
to live my faith. I had always understood that all
Christians are called to be saints but his letters taught
me that not only are we called to be saints
but we are called to be apostles as well. God
helped me to understand that to be a part of
the “universal” Church I needed to commit myself to loving
and building that same Church.
|"God granted me the wonderful gift of my vocation because he is good and he let me know that he is in a rush because there are many souls to save and draw closer to his heart."|
The next day I went up
to my friend and told her straight off that I
wanted to join Regnum Christi and for her to
tell me what I needed to do so as to
join as soon as possible. And that’s what I did.
a member of Regnum Christi helped me to frequent
the sacraments more assiduously, especially confession and the Eucharist, knowing
that Jesus was always there waiting for me to visit
him. He soon became my best friend. We weren’t a
large group of members, since the Movement was just beginning in
France. In facgt, we hardly knew anything about the Movement,
but still we were very enthusiastic. We were convinced that
we would transform the world for Christ.
In my last
year of college, one of my friends consecrated himself to
God in Regnum Christi and another friend became a
coworker to work for the Church in the Movement. I
studied at the University of Paris for one more year
planning to be a coworker once I finished my degree.
While I was at the Sorbonne God opened my eyes
to the real world, its needs and the urgency of
the mission. I came across many good people but their
lives were not very attractive because they didn’t seem very
happy. Studying philosophy one encounters all sorts of people; some
sincerely search for meaning in their lives and there are
others who do the opposite. I also encountered many homosexuals
and also a lot of pressure to accept it as
something natural. One student committed suicide and many others didn’t
know what they were living for since they didn’t know
what happiness was ... In all of them one thing
was apparent-they didn’t know our Lord. How could I just
sit there while there was so much suffering in the
world? Couldn’t I do anything for them?
Having finished my
studies I decided to become a coworker. While I was
at the introductory course in Rome I recalled the promise
I had made to God years before and I began
to be afraid. So I tried justifying myself, “God made
us free, so I could say no if I wanted
to.” It was a very strong temptation. I suddenly wanted
to turn my back on God believing that he could
no longer make me truly happy; he could sort of
make me happy but not enough for me to give
him my life.
The course was coming to an end and
I still didn’t know what to do so I figured
the best thing to do was just to leave without
saying anything to anyone and just disappear and be forgotten,
but in the end I didn’t think God would want
that being that we were friends. So he arranged things
so that I would miss my plane. I looked for
other flights and there weren’t any that day nor over
the next few days. Nobody from my family was home
at the time so I decided to spend another week
in Rome trying to calm down. Shortly thereafter I decided
to say “yes” to God but only for one year.
I was sent to Paris for my coworker year. It
was exciting to see how God was working through the
Movement in my country. Little by little I opened myself
to God’s grace and he began conquering my heart with
his love, respecting my freedom and at the same time
showing me how much of a rush he was in.
Two months later once again I experienced the desire to
consecrate myself to God. I had fallen in love with
him and I was happy. I said yes.
didn’t know anything about the Legionaries of Christ or
the Movement but they supported me unconditionally anyway because they
saw that it was all about God’s work, that we
were faithful to the Holy Father and that there was
a true spirit of charity amongst us. Their generous support,
their prayers and sacrifices are such a great help for
me to persevere each day. Even though it was hard
for him to say it, my father told me that
I had chosen the best part.
God granted me the
wonderful gift of my vocation because he is good and
he let me know that he is in a rush
because there are many souls to save and draw closer
to his heart.
Céline Cochin was born in Anjou in
the northeast of France. She obtained a doctorate in philosophy
at the University of Sorbonne in Paris. She also studied
classical humanities and theology at the Center of International Educators
in Madrid, Spain, and also taught philosophy classes there as
well. She currently is a youth director at the Le
Châtelard Academy in Switzerland.
(August 25, 2003)