THE PATH OF DISCERNMENT AND TRANSFORMATION THAT LED TO MY VOWS & LIFE AS A SISTER

BY SR. VILMA ARACELY RAMOS GUTIÉRREZ, CCVI

With my final profession of vows on January 15, 2021, I feel fully identified with the Congregation and very grateful for the opportunities I have been given, all these wonderful gifts.

That day, when the priest, Father Víctor, said my name for the blessing, I felt very grateful and when I received the ring, I was very moved since it represented my commitment to be faithful in perpetual love to God. Through many years of prayer and service, I have built a path of love that brings me closer to those most in need who seek relief in my hands. 

This is my vocation story.

I am Sr. Vilma Aracely Ramos Gutiérrez. I was born in the village of El Guayabo, municipality of Olopa, Chiquimula Department in Guatemala. I am the youngest of six children. My parents are the late Laureana Gutiérrez García and Santiago Ramos Castillo. I was raised to be grateful for everything I had, and always to pray.

I first thought of becoming a Sister in the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, on a Sunday afternoon in November 2001. My sister Ileana Ramos attended a Celebration of the Word in my community, and when she returned home she told us Sister Vicenta Miranda was going to pay us a visit. She also had learned the Sisters had a Student House in Esquipulas, and gave scholarships to young women interested in religious life. This caught my attention. I asked my sister to please speak with Sr. Vicenta on my behalf to see if there might be an opportunity for me to attend Casa Claudio.

When Sr. Vicenta made her visit to my house she asked me if I wanted to be a Woman Religious, and I immediately said “YES!” My father agreed that I should continue studying and would support me. My mother was quiet about my decision, but, deep down, I knew she supported me.

My inspiration to pursue a life as a Sister began in earnest when I was a student at Casa Claudio in Esquipulas. I met the residents of El Hogar de Mi Hermano for the first time. (El Hogar de Mi Hermano is one of the Congregation’s ministries that serves the elderly.) Seeing these older persons in need was a very moving experience. I soon overcame my initial reserve and fears in this new environment. Before long, I grew to feel a part of the ministry and identify with the Sisters. I admired them deeply, and during that three-year period of study and ministry, my desire to learn more about the charism and spirituality of the Congregation grew.

The process of getting to know the Congregation more thoroughly started after I graduated as an Intercultural Elementary School Teacher and returned home to work to support my family. Back home, I joined Sr. Juana Margarita Flores in her work in the community. By the end of the year, I was presented with a surprising situation that required me to make a difficult decision. In December 2007, I was offered a contract from Guatemala’s Ministry of Education to continue working as a teacher. The same month, I also received a Letter from the CCVI Formation Team accepting me to the formation process to become a Sister! Believe it or not, both letters asked for my commitment on the same day! With two paths now open before me, I spent some days in  discernment, searching for signals from my heart to guide me.

In the end, I made the decision to continue listening to my calling. Now, when I look back, I admire my courage and perseverance because I chose to follow my dream and God’s plan for me to be a different and extraordinary woman.

I have incorporated prayer into being faithful, persevering, and in my practice of new methods of meditation. This has allowed me to feel connected to the universal church and the signs of the times and to be able to respond to the mission.

“The example of Mary, mother of the Incarnate Word, as a humble servant of the Lord, invites me to be docile to the Spirit, it has fostered in me a tender, compassionate love, for which I can give joyful service in being a gospel of love through my commitment to the Congregation, and with others.” – Sr. Vilma

The example of Mary, mother of the Incarnate Word, as a humble servant of the Lord, invites me to be docile to the Spirit. It has fostered in me a tender, compassionate love, with which I can give joyful service in being a gospel of love through my commitment to the Congregation, and with others.

Community life is another aspect of my vocation which I have grown to love. It is a wonderful gift from God, allowing me to share my gifts and empowering me for the mission. I have integrated prayer and community life into joyful service in the ministries; it is an experience that gives me life and makes me feel like a CCVI, following the example of Monsignor Claude Marie Dubuis and the first three sisters.

In 2020 I started preparing for my perpetual vows in the Verbo Encarnado Convent, Zona 1, Guatemala City, with the accompaniment of Sr. María Magdalena Rodríguez Ortiz, Director of Formation. I felt the love of the Incarnate Word in a unique and wonderful way.

“During the litanies, I felt connected and an immense joy filled my heart when I realized I walk and live always accompanied by the Incarnate Word and the entire Congregation.” – Sr. Vilma

The pandemic was for me an opportunity to learn many things, to connect with myself, practice my creativity, meditate and enjoy, and learn about the history of the Congregation. The Eucharist was celebrated on January 15 at Casa de Retiros Verbo Encarnado, Aldea Pachali Santiago Sacatepéquez. That day I felt a deep joy in celebrating my commitment, which also coincided with the Feast of the Black Christ of Esquipulas. It was a very special day for me. Even though my family and some of my Sisters of the Congregation could not be there in person, I felt the presence of the Spirit that accompanied me through our prayer.

I thank all the Sisters who accompanied me during my formation process, the communities of Convento la Anunciación, Comunidad Verbo Encarnado, Zona 1. They were the ones who prepared the food, the place, the Eucharist and the artistic presentation. It was a great blessing.

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