Colombia - AOLA International Meeting

The International meeting for the Aolas (Associates of Our Lady of the Assumption) took place in January in Medellín. It was with joy that we were with Patricia and Luz Amparo for their first commitment and Alba and Marta Elena for their definitive admission. Here are their accounts.

Luz Marina, Alba, John Freddy, Patricia, Luz Amparo, Victor, Marta Elena, Amparo
’Greetings to my sister Aolas! I am Marta Rivillas from Colombia. I should like to share with you the happiness I feel in making my final vows as a Consecrated Laywoman with the AOLA. I have journeyed for thirteen years, living the mission with love, joy, service and struggles, and also with the strength of feeling and testifying that Jesus and Mary are my main guides. 
My family, friends, work, the Church, receive something from me, the idea is to spread and accomplish the values of the reign and so all work for Salvation and profit healthily of life. My thanks go to the Little Sisters of the Assumption whom I have known from my family, growing in their spirituality – and thank you to all the Associates from each country whom I bear in my heart and I congratulate them for wishing to commit themselves and to live their life in freedom, loving and serving our brothers and sisters. 
Marta Elena Rivillas Casas 
Alba and Suzette 
’Greetings to all! 
I send you my warm affection and want to express the joy of being able to share with you my life testimony as a consecrated Laywoman in the Association of Our Lady of the Assumption (AOLA). 
I am the youngest of six children, three of them have already departed this world. My mother and eldest sister (Amparo), who died recently, marked my life through their deep faith in the love of God and his mercy. I began my journey of seeking the will of God from an early age, and joined various groups like the Young Christian Workers, a group of catechists, a vocational group, the school and college Red Cross groups. These groups caused the desire to devote myself to persons considered to be unimportant and those in need to mature in me. 
In 2006, after knocking on the door of various institutions (religious communities) where I thought it was the will of God that I should follow Him, I understood that it was at home, by my sister’s side, keeping her company, being ready to arrange medical appointments, follow up her medication etc., that I should be. It was there that my journey with the association began after I was accepted for my commitment in the year 2008. Since that point my life has taken a different turn. I see my daily duties as my mission as a consecrated laywoman, I am committed to help in my parish as a Eucharist minister, taking communion to the Lord’s favourites, the poor in health. I renewed my commitment every year, conscious of my weaknesses and my strengths, until 2014 when, after making my request to commit myself definitively and presenting the evaluation I had made of my journey. I was accepted, and the ceremony took place with great joy at the international AOLA meeting this year. 
Every day my prayer and the Eucharist nourish me, they strengthen and encourage me in my consecration to Jesus, servant and saviour, who has called me and gives me his strength to respond with fidelity. 
I give thanks to God for his call, and to the association that has accepted me as a member and helps me to be faithful to him. 
With you I am happy to be a consecrated laywoman, an Aola. 
’From the time I was very small my life was beset by great difficulties that marked my personal life deeply. Nevertheless, in spite of all, I give thanks to God for looking at me with eyes of mercy, because his love for me has transformed my life. God has blessed me by calling me by my own name, inviting me to be part of the AOLA spiritual family. The Association welcomed me with open arms and with much love. My greatest desire is to be faithful to God, in all the moments of my life, following Jesus, servant and saviour, in joy and peace, and that my actions may ’speak’ Jesus Christ. 
Since I joined the AOLA, my family has noticed positive changes in me. They tell me that now I smile more, I take part in decisions in the home, I talk with the persons who come to the house to visit us, and I have a special love for the children, that I am happy. Being among the Aolas is and has been a blessing for my personal and family life. My thanks to the Aolas to accepting me as I am and for being there when I most needed that. My thanks for the sisterly corrections that have helped me to grow as a consecrated person. 
Patricia Zambrano 
I have been blessed from the time I was small because, through my difficulties such as extreme poverty and the absence of my parents – my father who abandoned us and my mother because of her work – in the Little Sisters of the Assumption I met the Founders and the Assumptionist Spirituality, the face of Christ who listens, serves, loves, corrects and forgives, who is a presence, who guides, consoles, proclaims and transforms. In this way I discovered the love of God in my life and I grew in my faith, in my love for Him and in the desire to follow, serve and proclaim Him to my sisters and brothers who are suffering, who are in need. 
One of my principal testimonies has been my own transformation with regard to my personal dignity, which has helped me to seek in God the best option for my life. For that reason, in the call that God sent me, I feel that I must drink from the same fountain as the Little Sisters and the persons who helped me to get on my feet, who told me to drink. In that way, and seeking to spread the Reign of God, we have worked with and formed the group of laypeople in Medellín who meet so as to live according to the Assumptionist spirituality in following Jesus, the Servant and Saviour. 
When with the laity I felt a fresh call through the Association of Our Lady of the Assumption. This was to become more aware of my commitment as a baptised person, to be attentive to life, to be a woman who is offered and consecrated to the will of God, to work to encounter Christ and my brothers and sisters through Prayer, the Eucharist and service; to be a witness to a Christ who is alive and Risen and who invites me to live my resurrection in Him, through Him and for Him, to live this life project of the Aolas with humility and simplicity for the Glory of God. 
Hermana Luz Amparo 
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