OF SISTER AMPARO RUIZ ROMAN
Barcelona, August 2016
Amparo’s nephew recalls an experience of doing religion homework
He tells it like this:
My Aunt was born in a little town in Malaga province, in the south of Spain. During the Spanish civil war, she lived in the country with her grandparents for a time, where her parents already had to flee to because of the war. They were gone three years until the war ended.
When there was peace, they went to live in Antequera, a larger town, also in Malaga province. Amparo is the fourth of eight siblings. She obeyed the older ones and cared for the little ones.
In the aftermath of the war, the economic situation was difficult in some areas of Spain and my Aunt went to work in Barcelona, where her father was already working. There, she looked after children.
One day, while helping one of the children with his homework, she read in the catechism, ‘those who are not baptized are not children of God and cannot go to heaven’.
This left an impression on her because she was not baptized. She shared her concerns with the lady of the house and told her that she would like to be baptized. The lady brought her to the Reparatrice sisters in Caspe Street, in order to prepare her for baptism and Sister Ramona Goenaga, a Reparatrice sister, prepared her. She was baptized at 19 and her godparents were the man and woman whom she worked for.
Little by little, Amparo experienced God’s presence in her life and it made her happy. She dated young men but did not feel fulfilled and at the age of 21, following a discernment process accompanied by Sister Ramona Goenaga, she decided to become a Reparatrice. Her father did not take her decision well.
With the joy of following Jesus forever, my Aunt became a postulant in Pamplona, received her habit in Chamartin de la Rosa and made her novitiate in Barcelona.
Now, she says that God, the God of Jesus, is the center of her life, she believes in God the good Father, creator, who loves us with tender mercy and is incarnated in Jesus, Redeemer and Liberator. He sustains and strengthens her life, he gives it meaning, joy and hope. In Him, is known the tenderness of a God who is Father-Mother, who invites us to love everyone with that tenderness: this she says, is reparation.
Live faith with joy, with trust in this Father God, with the joy of living his tenderness and making it known to others. Try to live from within: to know Jesus and to make him known, love him and offer his love to others, so that they too may feel loved by Him and love Him, and not adore anyone else, but Him and that others might rid themselves of the idols that our society offers, and not adore anyone else, but Him.
After some years in religious life, fired by missionary zeal and a growing commitment to God, to give all for others as Jesus had done, she asked to go to the missions and she spent five years in Columbia. Later she thought it necessary to renew and update herself in order to make God known in a different way in the society in which we live, and she returned to Barcelona to study. She graduated in childcare, which helped her to work with young children (kindergarten), for many years. There, her love for children grew, with the tenderness of a mother, giving witness to her faith amongst her work colleagues and parents alike, her smile was always a testimony to the quality of faith and surrender.
Over many years, she collaborated in the parish, teaching catechism to children and young people. It gave her much pleasure to animate the parish liturgy over many years, because for her, to sing for the Lord Jesus is a joy and the happiness communicated in the song is the happiness that comes from belonging to Him, in the Congregation of Marie Reparatrice and the people with whom she lives, know also that being a religious is a happy and worthwhile life.
Living in a community of life and mission, caring for the sisters as real sisters, united in journeying with all the neighbours, children, young people, adults and older people: within a parish community, living in an integrated community and sharing life and faith with the laity, she says, enriches her reparatrice life, which she still lives with joy.
Amparo’s nephew confesses:
“Undertaking this project has made me realise that everybody in western society is not governed by the same norms. There are people who are not carried away by the power of money and who fight against the false images of God that we have. I have also seen that there are people who are swayed by a strong interior, and if they follow it, live happy lives and make others happy too.
I undertook this project to see if someone like me, in doing this project, can find that inner strength which my Aunt calls God, which springs up in the interior of each person, is good to be swayed by it and it points to being happy.”