Today we commemorate the 150th Birthday of Mother Nazarena, the first Sister in the Daughters of the Divine Zeal congregation.
On this occasion, I am inspired to share my thoughts and inspirations of the little knowledge that I have about her life story. Reflecting on her life, there are three important aspects that I consider as having helped her form her being: her family values and cultural upbringing, her work and her frequent involvement in church activities. These things moulded her into a good person and a good Christian.
Mother Nazarena’s baptismal name was Maria Majone and she was used to work from a very young age, being taught by her family to do household chores along with her siblings. Even though she was the youngest among the six children in the family, she was not exempt from helping with this work – she did what she could do. She worked on the farm with her family from the age of eleven, earning wages to help her mother, especially at the time when her father had passed away. Farming was their means of having an economic existence to survive the challenges of life.
The Majone family was a religious family. The children were brought up by their parents with strong moral, Christian values and principles from their early years that continued to be deeply lived throughout their journey of faith and life.
Mother Nazarena’s spiritual life was firmly grounded through her constant prayer from a very young age. She was spiritually taught, guided and accompanied by her family and the parish priest as her spiritual guide. Encouraged to live by the spirit of prayer, she actively joined the devout group called the Children of Mary in the parish. She was always punctual in attending to the parish’s activities such as prayers, daily Mass, meditation, frequently receiving the Sacraments and faithfully undertaking apostolic works. She always attended the catechetical program of instruction given by the parish. Because of these devout practices, she gained confidence in teaching catechesis to children and had playtime with these little ones afterwards.
As her house was not far from the church, it was easy for her to pay frequent visits and lend a helping hand in the parish’s activities. Because she always had a strong sense of God in her life, she was well-grounded in her daily work which she dedicated to God. This routine became a program for her life as she grew up. Her family being spiritual-oriented clearly helped in her formation. She always found time for prayer, work on the farm and in her church’s activities and through this she developed a balanced sense of service of God, family and others. She was full of joy and had a lively spirit while doing her best for the Lord.
Family has a very important role in our spiritual growth. As mentioned previously, Mother Nazarena was brought up by her parents to be a good child with a knowledge of God from the very early stages of her life, growing in the love of God with each passing year. The ways of God were formed – and continued to develop – within her. Her life spent in faithfulness, service, and constant prayer became the spiritual breath of her life. That is why her life was transformed into a commitment of good service for people.
God was always the reason of Mother Nazarena’s total self-giving to others. She manifested a good attitude when working for her family and others. This was her way of working with passion and love because God was the ultimate centre of her life, the sole purpose and meaning in all her works.
“If God is with us we have everything.” — Favourite quote of Mother Nazarena
In her life journey, Mother Nazarena teaches us that our life should be centred in God and that God is the only good reason for our existence. This becomes a Eucharistic life where God is the sustenance for and strength of our life. Prayer is of great importance as it will lead us to be a true, good person and committed to service for God and others. It is in prayer that we establish an intimate relationship with God and become fully human in His very presence. With these realizations, looking upon myself I feel that I am so far in my spiritual progress, so slow in having this kind of intimate relationship with God that brings me in His presence, in communion with Him and in actions that serve Him and my neighbour.
Mother Nazarena is one of the ripened harvest who becomes the harvester as one of the holy labourers in the Lord’s vineyard. In her time she was the answered prayer, working for the Lord’s harvest especially for the souls who were lost and abandoned. Her heart was always at prayer and in communion with God. Her prayer brings an inspiration and joyful life of serving the people of God. To this day, she challenges us to live our life to the fullest for God. Let us pray:
Loving God, be my security and my guide
Help me to live the things that I am praying for.
In those times when I have lost my way
Or when I am indifferent
Please find, guide, and rescue me in those difficult moments.
Let my life live with Your presence to the fullest
Just like our Mother Nazarena.
With You is my hope.
For You is my love.
In You is my faith
A faith lived with total trust in You.
Thank You for not giving up and remaining at my side.
You continue to inspire me in my journey of loving you as my God.
Make me generous in my self-giving
Just like Mother Nazarena who offered her whole life
For loving the lost souls.
You are my strength and inspiration in finding Your presence, Lord.
You clothe me with Your grace, goodness, kindness and patience
Throughout the days of my journey.
You will be my inspiration as I walk with You
In this fruitful and meaningful journey
With faith, hope and love
Encompassing the life of prayer, the Rogate!