by Moira Cullings
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Luz Diaz heard the call to religious life when she was just a child.
But God wasn’t ready for her just yet.
“The first time I thought about being a nun,” said Diaz, “[was] when I was 13 years old.
“I think it’s a call that has always been there.”
Because she was so young, Diaz was told to wait and continue living her life. And if, in the future, she still felt called, to find a congregation that would help.
Growing up in Mexico, Diaz remained close to the church, participating in youth groups and Bible studies whenever she could.
Then she moved to the United States 14 years ago.
“I was always worried about helping my family,” she said. “I kept two to three jobs at a time when I moved here to send the money to Mexico to help my family.”
The extra workload and need to help her family prevented her from pursuing the call she had felt years ago.
But when she started working as director of formation and communication at All Saints Parish in Kansas City, Kansas, about a year ago, that began to change.
“I went to a conference with the Hispanic community. And in the conference,” said Diaz, “God gave me a few words.
“He reminded me how much he wanted me to be just for him.”
And in that moment, Diaz knew with certainty what God was trying to tell her: “It’s time.”
Diaz shared her calling with Father Anthony Ouellette, then pastor at All Saints, who guided her next steps.
“He encouraged me to go out there and meet with different [religious] communities and congregations,” said Diaz.
After contacting and visiting a variety of religious orders, Diaz reached out to the Augustinian Recollect Missionary Sisters, located at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Topeka.
When she arrived there for her visit, said Diaz, she was overcome with a sense of peace.
“I went and visited. And as soon as I parked, I saw a small little house and it just felt so homey,” said Diaz. “It felt like I just got home.”
“There was no more doubt about this [being] where I needed to be,” she added. “The question I had is: ‘What do I do now?’”
God took that question into his own hands.
Last month, when she was on retreat with the Sisters, she was introduced to Father Jerry Arano-Ponce, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the end of Mass, he presented her as a postulant of the Augustinians.
Although she was still discerning, she took that as a sign that God wanted her to commit to the order right away.
“I said, ‘Yes, I’m just going to go for it,’” she said. “I was excited.”
From there, Diaz felt God speaking to her every time she had a doubt.
One of the messages he gave her was to slow down and enjoy the process of becoming a nun.
He said, “Don’t run, because every step you’re taking from now on is a gift I’m giving you.
“Don’t jump to the next step without getting the gifts I’m giving you.”
All the Scripture passages Diaz reflected on pointed her back to where she first fell in love with Christ — home in Mexico.
“To do that, I needed to quit my job, sell my house and sell my furniture,” she said.
Within one week of putting her house up for sale, it sold. Within one week of making her furniture available for sale, it all sold.
“I think God’s telling me I need to go [home],” said Diaz. “There’s something special that I need to go and find for me to grow in the love and the faith and what he has for me back here.”
Diaz plans to take her trip to Mexico Nov. 24 and will stay for a few months — or however long God needs her.
When she arrives back in Kansas, she looks forward to her life as an Augustinian Sister.
“What people normally tell us is you’re going to be married, you need to have kids, you need to have a job and make a career,” said Diaz. “They don’t talk about religious life.
“But it is an option.
“It’s just how you listen to God.”
Her advice for others discerning religious life is simple: Pay close attention.
“Listen to those little things — those small prayers, those small thoughts that [God] gives you,” she said.
“If we really get to know that and put our attention on those little things he expresses to us,” she added, “then we know our vocation.”