Comboni Missionary Sister Rania Samir from Aswan, Egypt, always wanted to be a sister. Or a missionary. Or maybe a teacher. We caught up with her at her new assignment in the Central African Republic to ask about her vocation. Here is her story…
During my studies, I started to think about mission work. In my parish, there was a Comboni Sister (and also a Father). I had chances to hear about their experiences after mission or during their vacations. I was so attracted by the idea. They often spoke about Sudan, and it sounded very exciting. I wanted to go, but I loved my family, my life, my freedom (as I thought about it at the time). I began to think, “Maybe I can’t be a sister.”
Still, I read more about the missions and, while in university, I would meet with the Comboni Fathers and Sister.
Then I had an Ignatian silent retreat. This gave me the time to discover my relationship with God. I was always in church, and had been active in my parish, but this was like a second-discovery, a personal meeting with Jesus. I knew I wanted to give everything in gratitude for his love for me.
I became more engaged at Church, to pray, visit the sick, to work more with Comboni Sisters visiting people in the community. I got a spiritual director and one day I told him, “I think I want to be a sister; I love the missions, I want to go to Sudan.”
He asked me: “Do you want to be a sister or a missionary?” I was surprise and I asked: “Is there a difference?”
“Yes – he told me-. You can be a very good missionary in your home. You can work and maybe you will be freer and you can still do a lot of things for many people. But if you want to be a sister, it is because you want to give your entire life to God, to manifest your love in the mission. Your first aim is not mission, but to give your life to God.”
I continued to think about the matter while I spent more time in ministering to people in my community, and more time in prayer. I decided I was very happy in that life. I finished university and began to work.
But I still asked God what I should do with my life. I wanted a family (I love children so much!). But more and more I found another life calling me. So I asked a Comboni Sister for an experience of missionary life. I had to wait for an answer; because my request was out of the ordinary. I told my family that I thought of being a sister and a missionary. But I was the only girl left at home and I was very devoted to my family. They could not imagine that I would leave.
Just about that time, I received a contract from the government to work as a teacher, a much sought-after position. It seemed like a war. My family wanted me to continue to work for at least a while, but I said, if a Comboni Sister says yes, I will go. If God wants me to be a missionary Sister, then he will show me; if not, he will give me other work or show me what I should do. Then, at almost the same time as the job offer, Sister’s answer came: Yes!
My family pressured me to sign the contract. They thought my ideas of mission work would pass and I should prepare for my future. I began to work in the teaching position, but the whole time I was preparing to go to the missions. When the moment came, I surprised everyone, but I had no doubt. I said simply, “I am going”