Sr. Ylenia Ramos did her postulancy in México. As a woman consecrated to God for the mission, she always prays to the Holy Spirit to give her a simple heart that welcomes everybody. Today, she has dedicated her life to share God’s love without boundaries. She shared her journey with Leadership magazine.
Give us a brief biography of yourself
Although I have shared in another occasion about my ministerial life as a Comboni Sister, I wish to share this time more about my vocation and my experience of God. I was born in Mexico on the 13th of August 1983, the sixth out of seven children. When I was 14, my family migrated to USA because my mother needed an operation. At that time, we had little to be considered ours; some few blankets, two chairs and a small yellow radio that my father would switch on to dance in the evenings. We used to work in the fields of California sometimes to put money together for the family to survive on. It was the hardest time of my life.
For a short while, my father put me in high school but later on, he sent me back to Mexico to finish my secondary. I was a difficult teenager who had problems in school; my self-esteem was down and I felt I didn’t deserve to be loved. Going back to Mexico was a chance to start over. One day, my cousins convinced me to act in a play. In it, Jesus forgave the sinful woman and invited her not to sin again because she was loved by God. In that moment, I felt God was forgiving me and telling ME that I was deeply loved.
Then my life changed, I participated in a retreat of the Charismatic Movement and started serving in my parish with the youth, visiting the elderly and teaching catechesis to children with special needs.
There was only one desire in my heart, “let everybody know how much they are loved by God.”
What inspired you to religious life?
There was a Comboni Brother from my hometown who was making his final vows. As we were in the celebration, they shared about the life of Comboni and the responsibility of the missionaries to take Jesus to those who do not know Him, particularly among the poorest. To hear that there were people who had not experienced the love of Jesus was painful. The missionaries shared about the culture of death: human trafficking, poverty, racism and all the injustice over the world. Then they said, “who shall go to tell them that Jesus gave his life for them?” I can’t describe how my heart was beating, I wanted to shout, “I am here, send me!
Could you share your experience of working as a religious nun?
I professed as a Comboni Missionary Sister in 2009. My first mission was in Moroto, where I used to help in the catechesis of children, visiting the prisoners to share the Gospel and sharing with the youth. Later, I enrolled to study a Bachelor in Education at Kisubi Brothers University while I contributed with the youth pastoral in Mbuya Parish. Then I have been teaching, first in Kangole Primary school and the last four years in St Daniel Comboni S.S.S Matany. I have also been part of the youth pastoral in the Diocese of Moroto and helping in the sensitization of the dangers of Human Trafficking.
Part of my work with the youth has not only been in helping them to grow in their relation with God but also with the community and the environment. We have been planting trees, scripting dramas, visiting communities and sharing with other youth the love of God.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
In all I have done, I have felt the presence of God. Every time I meet a person, I feel them telling me, “This is the person I love, the one I should show I care.” Then, as I see the dedication of my sisters who have been in Uganda for hundred years, I know I cannot do less. Comboni wanted sisters Holy and Capable, ready to give their lives. Indeed, Comboni and my sisters inspire me every day.
How has faith shaped your view of things in life?
As Pope Francis said, “to have faith in Jesus is the light that allows every person to find the sense of his/her life,” Faith to me is to believe in the one who sent me and to trust in Him. He gave me legs to go to those who need him, He gave me hands to work next to the people for a better world, He gave me a heart to love with his love and to show his mercy, He gave me a mouth to proclaim that He gave his life so we could have life and life in abundance.
What are some of the hurdles you have met?
To speak a different language, to come from a different culture, the belief some people have that missionaries have a lot of money.
Your last words to the readers
To follow Jesus, you don’t need a degree, you need to love, to care for others and to trust that God is always with you. Now, I am leaving Uganda for Zambia, the congregation has asked me to give a new service as a formation guide for postulants, young women who want to become missionaries. I ask all of you to pray for vocations and to pray for those who are in formation. Remember, the work is much and the workers few, so pray to the owner of the vineyard.
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