Former Beauty Queen Enters Convent

48681683 - diadem on a black backgroundA 20 year-old Mexican woman who was recently crowned as a beauty queen in her native town has decided to give it all up for the religious life.

The Catholic News Agency (CNA) is reporting on the decision of young Esmeralda Solis Gonzales of Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, to answer a call that took root in her heart when she was 14 years old.

The call was always like a “little thorn,” Esmeralda told CNA. “I realized that I had to make room in my life to know what it was that God had planned for me. In the process of discerning my vocation there was also fear and doubts, but the love that Our Lord was showing every day made me overcome any feeling of discouragement,” she said.

As time went on, she became more and more aware that God was calling her “to serve him in a radical way.”

Esmeralda, who was born on April 12, 1997 to a Catholic family, met the Poor Clare Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament five years ago, at the age of 14, when a vocation was just beginning to bloom in her heart. Feeling drawn to the order, she spent a lot of time in prayer and discernment before deciding that it was time to say “yes” to the Lord.

“God’s timing is perfect. During this time (of discernment) he allowed me to have some experiences such as being a beauty queen, and other experiences, which forever left their mark and which allowed me to learn a lot for what was to come later.”

The process wasn’t always easy.

“Change is hard for the family because it involves detachment, but I have always had the support of my parents, siblings and true friends. Even though I could have developed myself in some other setting, I feel that if the Lord needs me then I can bear fruit in a different way,” she told CNA.

She is now a postulant with the Poor Clares, a Religious Institute of Pontifical Right founded by Blessed María Inés Teresa Arias in 1945 in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

The spirit of the Institute is Eucharistic, Marian, priestly, missionary, and is centered on Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, CNA reports. Missionaries work in clinics and schools, university dorms and youth groups and are present in 15 countries, including the United States.

For those young people who are discerning their call in life, whatever it might be, Esmeralda says: “You mustn’t be afraid. If God is calling you, he’ll take care of everything. All you need to do is receive him with a lot of peace, joy and confidence. I believe fear is a big excuse that is responsible for truncating the true happiness that only God can offer.”

Esmeralda found support from her family and community, but programs such as Young Women of Grace can offer the same kind of joyful and enthusiastic support girls ages 13-17+ need when discerning their call in life. Not only does the program provide instruction and formation, it also give girls the opportunity to build peer relationships which are so important at that age.

As for Esmeralda, she’s never been happier.

“I was very happy with everything I had, but it does not compare with the happiness that God now places in my heart.”

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