For Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, Melicia Antonio, the choice had always been clear: from a very young age, she already knew she wanted to be nun or missionary.
Growing up, Melicia found inspiration in reading the lives of the saints, especially those of the Jesuit martyrs. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Melicia was raised in a large military family, with parents who were incredibly supportive of her and consistently encouraged her to explore all her interests to see where they might lead. In 1996, when Melicia was 17 years old, she went on a Youth for the Third Millennium (now called Mission Youth) evangelization mission in the Bahamas, and it was here where she first met the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi. Immediately, she knew not only that she had found her spiritual home in Regnum Christi, but also that God was calling her to spend the rest of her life consecrated to him.
Just a few years later, in a gymnasium in Mexico, Melicia made her final vows, becoming a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi. Since then, her vocation as has taken her around the world to numerous countries like the United States, Mexico, and Italy. And this summer, on August 27th, Melicia found herself in another gymnasium, this one at Everest Academy and Collegiate, a Regnum Christi school in Clarkston, Michigan, where she celebrated twenty-five years of consecrated life.
For Melicia, one of the best things that consecrated life has given her is the gift of time to pray. “I remember thinking when I was young, ‘If I want lots of time to pray, I should probably be consecrated,’” recalls Melicia. “Life is busy, obligations are many, and I find comfort in knowing that one of my principal life commitments is having ample time to pray and intercede for others.”
Another thing Melicia loves about her vocation to consecrated life is the sense of unity she feels with fellow Consecrated Women, Legionary priests, and Regnum Christi members. “I love that we are a spiritual family working together in the mission,” says Melicia. “I believe that there is a special synergy and grace at work when we face the same challenges and together draw upon our charism to make Christ present in the world. Working with other groups and institutions is also very exciting, but there is something distinct in me that comes out when I’m with other consecrated women and Regnum Christi members.”
Melicia was able to celebrate her twenty-fifth anniversary of consecrated life with some of her Regnum Christi family at the Mass and reception at Everest Academy. Fellow Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi Lucy Honner and Regina Doyle also celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary, while Rose Wieber and Teresa Maziarz celebrated twenty years of consecrated life. Deacon Aaron Poyer, the Archdiocesan Delegate for Consecrated Life and Priestly Mission, assisted the Mass, which was concelebrated by six Legionaries of Christ from Detroit, Notre Dame, Indiana, and Chicago, including Regina’s brother, Fr. John Doyle, LC, who gave the homily. “I just loved spending time with the Regnum Christi family,” says Melicia, “with the Consecrated Women, the Legionaries, the families, and all our friends.”
While Melicia’s vocation seemed laid out for her early in her life, there is nothing she wishes she would have known twenty-five years ago when she first joined the consecrated life, and nothing that she would change. “I honestly think I knew everything I needed to know twenty-five years ago. God knows what we need to know, and reveals it in the present moment, so we just need to live fully in every moment. As they say in Spanish, al andar, se hace camino – the path is made as you walk.”
Melicia currently resides in South Bend, Indiana while she pursues her PhD in Moral Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Having taught in various capacities for most of her consecrated life, Melicia is looking forward to being able to teach and conduct research in political theology, Catholic social doctrine, and virtue ethics at a professional level. “I really enjoy this mission and I find special joy in exploring the faith and sharing it with others.”