“God told me that it would make him happy to have me by his side and that my heart would be only for him.”
Victoria Backstrom just made her final vows as a Consecrated woman of Regnum Christi. She is from Minnesota and comes from a family of five siblings. She entered the consecrated life when she was 20 years old. She began her years of formation in Rhode Island and, in 2015, she moved to Spain to study Theology in the Ecclesiastical University of San Dámaso. During the last three years she has been on the Pastoral team and on the ECYD auxiliary team at Everest School Monteclaro in Madrid. Currently, she is completing her bachelor’s degree in Theology.
We spoke with her about many topics such as community life, her relationship with the Regnum Christi family and her relationship with God: “I do not deserve credit for being where I am or having lived what I have lived, but what I do know is that God has touched others’ lives by what he has done in my life, and I realize more and more that my life is no longer belongs to me but rather to Him, to the Church and to Regnum Christi.”
How did Our Lord tell you that he wanted you to be consecrated in Regnum Christi?
A response to a call from God is a response that comes from a personal relationship with him that is formed and forged in time. For me, when I finally managed to open myself truly to his invitation, it was a simple and clear. He simply told me that it would make him happy to have me by his side and that my heart would be only for him.
And your family, how did they react?
They all supported me, even though it is hard for them that I live so far away.
How do you see yourself since you said yes to God and now that you have just made your final vows? Have you changed a lot?
On my consecration day I said yes to God with all that I was at that moment, but over the years I have come to know myself better. Because of this my ‘yes’ today is even fuller, more complete, and more conscious; and every day I am happier, which is something that only God can do.
The community of Consecrated Women who you live with also plays an important role in the discernment of your vocation. How does that work? Is it like a family? Or like a group of friends? What is your experience of this aspect of your vocation – to live in community?
For me, my community in consecrated life is one of the things I love the most and that helps me the most to live my consecrated life. It is much more like a family than a group of friends. Friends are chosen but a family is given to you. And in community, like in a family, everything is lived together. We look out each other and share a lot: deep joys, sufferings, prayers and intentions, and even housework and fun times.
What role did the Regnum Christi family – the lay members, and the consecrated men and women and Legionaries of Christ – play in your vocational experience leading up to your final vows?
My Regnum Christi family is a great joy for me because it has been an integral part of my life since I was a child. They make me want to be more holy!
You told us a few years ago in your renewal of temporary vows that “after these three years I have been able to see what God’s fidelity and initiative is like, that nothing depends on my effort, but on his call”. Can you explain to us how this fidelity and initiative of God has been?
Today I would say that God’s initiative is increasingly clear and that his faithfulness is infinite and unconditional. It does not cease to amaze me the wonders he has done in my life. It seems very clear to me that only he could have transformed me and made me as happy as I am now.
I would nuance the quote stated above by saying that for God nothing is impossible, but that his call and my relationship with him requires a response. He needs and wants to hear my daily yes. He is the one who gives us the grace to live our vocation, but he needs us to respond to him.
Where is this initiative of God leading you at this time?
He simply leads me to live the day to day and the present moment with him because that’s where he is present.
Right now, after having made my final vows, I am also impressed by how he speaks to others through my vocation. I do not deserve any credit for being where I am or having lived what I have lived, but what I do know is that God has touched others’ lives by what he has done in my life, and I realize more and more that my life is no longer belongs to me but rather to Him, to the Church and to Regnum Christi.
You have just finished your three-year apostolic internship at Everest School Monteclaro. What have you learned about your vocation and mission after this first experience?
These three years at Everest have been, above all, years of constant learning. I am infinitely grateful to the entire Everest family for welcoming me and making me a part of it, and for being so patient with me.
It has also become clear to me that God touches lives and acts through my consecration. It gives me deep joy to be his instrument for others. The thirst others have for God is profound and if I can quench that thirst at least a little bit with my life, that is enough for me.
Now that you have made your final vows, how is your prayer life? Do you see your relationship with Jesus from a different perspective?
For a few months now, my prayer has been filled with peace. Reaching this certainty of one’s call touches prayer in a particular way. It has become a place of rest being with the one who knows and loves me.
What would you say to a young man or woman who is discerning whether God is calling them to the consecrated life?
To someone who is discerning, I would say, don’t be afraid to open yourself to God. He knows you better than anyone else and his deepest desires for you are the same as your deepest desires. The vocation God calls us to brings meaning to our whole life.
Rapid Fire answers: When we say a word, what is the first word that comes to mind?
The past: grace
The present: presence of God
The future: passion
Others: loved by God
United States: home
Final vows: response of love
Communion: Regnum Christi
Legionary of Christ: Brother
Consecrated Woman: Sister
Lay Consecrated Man: A brother I would like to get to know better
Work: mission of love
Church: encounter with Christ
Christmas Carol: What Child is This?
Suffering: a path towards Jesus
Life: Gift and Mystery
Apostolate: talking about God
Song: Even Then by Micah Tyler
Your favorite number from the Regnum Christi Statutes: #9 Apostolic Fruitfulness
Your favorite number from the Constitutions of the Consecrated Women: #10 Charity
Your favorite saint: Saint Joan of Arc