On December 8, 2020, Rose Cunningham made her final vows as a Consecrated Qoman of Regnum Christi in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rome, accompanied by the communities of Consecrated Women present in Rome, some Legionaries of Christ and by her family and friends through social media.
The Ratio Institutionis of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, in #449 explains that: ” In making final vows, it has been confirmed, on the part of the Consecrated Woman and of the Society, that the discernment which led to the making and renewal of temporary vows has been carried out. With final vows one passes from a stage of vocational discernment and verification to a stage of consolidation and maturation that continues throughout life”. (p. 224. Ratio Institutionis CRC)
Rose Cunningham was born in San Diego, USA, 1994 in a big family with eleven siblings, where they looked out for each other. Being one of the middle ones, she had the experience of being taken care of by the older ones, and she, in turn, enjoyed taking care of the younger ones. Since childhood, her family was involved in the Militia of the Immaculada and the Blessed Virgin has always been very present in her life.
The following is an interview with Rose before she made her vows.
Question: What is in your heart as you consecrate your life definitively to God?
Answer: So much gratitude to God, and to so many people who have accompanied me, who have been part of my journey and have helped me become who I am today. A lot of praise to God for what he has done in me – for what he does, and how good he is.
Q: What has been your journey to make this decision?
A: When I was seven years old, I met the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi for the first time. I have this memory engraved in my mind: we were with them and some other families. At the end of the day I saw one of them enter the Church, and that simple moment clicked in me. Years later I understood better what it meant: during the day the Consecrated Women were there with us, transmitting a love and presence that wasn´t just their own, that went beyond them – the love of God, and his closeness. And then, at the end of the day, when everyone was gone, they were alone with Christ. I loved that and I think about it a lot. Now when I get to the end of the day, tired from whatever I was doing, I go to the chapel and find peace and consolation in finding myself alone with him. At the end of the day I am Christ’s.
After graduating from school I entered the candidacy, at the age of 18. For me, the first year was about discovering what it means to be a Christian and the call to holiness that comes with baptism. A whole new horizon opened up for me and I was struck by the beauty and grandeur of my identity and mission as a baptized Christian. From there I was able to go deeper into what it means to follow Christ in the consecrated life, through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They were two years of a lot of reflection – on questions that touched my personal identity, and on the vocation to consecrated life, viewing it from the outside in order to understand what it is. After those two years I took my first vows as a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi. I remember that the day of my consecration I thought, what can happen in six years? Why do I need so much time? At that moment I saw my vocational call clearly, but during the years I did question it many times.
I began my studies, which lasted three years. I did the first one in the United States and then I went to Madrid to study theology at the University of San Dámaso. There were challenges in those three years, but I began to live the consecrated life trying to be really sincere with myself, wondering if I was growing as a person. For a long time, I thought that if something was difficult for me it meant that I did not have a vocation. It has been a very long, very beautiful process, of experiencing day after day, in very small and ordinary things, how God confirms his call in very simple ways.
Q: How would you describe your apostolic internship?
A: I spent those three years in Monterrey, working mostly in elementary school. I loved being with the kids. It was a little difficult to adjust because I entered a new world, a very different culture, and an environment I was not used to. It was hard for me to adjust at first, but being with the kids every day helped – kids are kids wherever they are, whatever language they speak. I enjoyed spending recess with them, talking to them about God, taking “fieldtrips” to the chapel with them to visit Jesus and maybe sing him a song. They are really open and it is beautiful to see how they receive God’s beauty and goodness so easily. I know the seeds planted in their hearts at this age will stay with them, and sooner or later grow and give fruit.
Q: What lessons did you draw from your apostolic internship? What did you learn?
A: The greatest insight was the experience that along with external elements that are difficult and things that might make me feel out of my comfort zone, there is also an innate sense that makes me understand that those external things aren´t everything – that there´s something there in the middle of what´s different that “fits,” and that is “mine” in some way: the mission. The external things may or may not be what I would choose for life, but I would, and do, choose the deeper mission for life, and will try to live it out no matter where I end up. We are sent by Christ, and we can live our consecration and our mission wherever we are.
Q: How has your family played a role in your vocation?
A: My parents and my older brothers and sisters have had a great influence on making my relationship with Christ very real, taking very seriously the fact that we have a God who knows us, loves us, knows how we are doing and wants to makes us happy. They passed on to me that trust in God. They told me that doing God’s will is worth it, because he knows us and wants the best for us. In my family the whole idea of having a vocation was very naturally and openly present.
However, the theme of a vocation in Regnum Christi has been difficult at times; since the beginning legitimate questions and doubts arose. I have a sister who was consecrated for nine years and then returned home. It was a difficult and painful situation, and I think my parents were afraid the same thing would happen to me. It has been a process for all of us, but I know that all my parents and siblings are happy to see that I´m happy. And I am so grateful for their support.
Q: What inspires you in the mission of making Christ’s Kingdom present in society?
A: There are so many people in the world who have no idea of the beauty of life and who God is, how good he is and how much he loves us. I think there is a lot of suffering that arises from the insecurity of thinking this world is all there is, or that God is distant or harsh. If people knew, but really knew, all the way through their hearts, that God knows and loves them, I think they would be a lot happier. I’m happy to know that my life, in some way, can announce the presence of this God who is so good and who loves us so much.
Q: How do you define the final vows as a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi?
A: I would say that it is final seal that says that this is forever. What I have been living for the past six years has matured and become who I am. When I received the official approval for my final vows I felt a renewed sense of commitment with the whole family of Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi – not only have I felt identified with this vocation, but the other Consecrated have also recognized it in me, and together we share the responsibility to respond faithfully to the call of Christ, so that we can be who he is calling us to be, and live as he is calling us to live.
Translated and adapted from: https://consagradasrc.org/votos-definitivos-de-rose-cunningham/