After encountering God’s love & immense mercy through confession at a retreat in my second year of university, I wanted to share the love & mercy of Jesus with everyone! I got very involved with the youth ministry program at my parish, served a year with NET and a year at St. Therese School of Faith and Mission. Then I went to the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec city and saw a lot of CCO missionaries that I had met at Rise Up the previous year. At the Congress, many of them came up to me asking if I would consider serving with CCO, if I was moving to Ottawa, and I was even introduced by a staff member to Andre Regnier, the founder of CCO, by them saying “This is Janine, she’s going to work for CCO someday”. This all came to me as a surprise at the time, but the Lord was placing a call upon my heart!
I was going on CCO’s mission to World Youth Day in Australia that same summer so I decided to discern over the mission. On that trip, basically I fell in love with the mission & vision of CCO! During the training for the mission, I heard a CCO missionary proclaim the Gospel clearly and simply for the first time, and I wondered “Why have I not heard it proclaimed so clearly before?”
God created us for a relationship, that relationship was broken through sin, Jesus came to restore that relationship, now the choice is ours.
Even though I had been involved in ministry for years, I was amazed by how simply the Gospel could be shared with others. I also heard for the first time the relationship between holiness and mission. It really confirmed my belief that the call to grow as a missionary derives from the call to holiness. Ever since I had encountered the Lord, I had also had a great desire to share Him with others! The CCO Staff often spoke of the words of Blessed John Pau II when he said that we should not be afraid to be holy missionaries and it really spoke to my heart. Through that mission, I saw that CCO challenges people to be leaders, and in this I was inspired by seeing people becoming the real people that God created them to be, confident in themselves. I had never been with a group of such confident people. I saw missionaries who were a family, who were humble and docile to the Spirit. Not only did I want to be a part of a movement that focused on evangelization and bringing people to place Jesus at the centre of their lives, but also one that raised leaders for the renewal of the world.
I only really had experience with youth ministry up to that point and so I wasn’t sure at first if I was called to university ministry; however, when I thought about it university is such a crucial time when we are faced with many decisions. We are deciding what to do with our lives, who do we want to become, who will we be and how will we serve. I myself had fallen away from my faith in my first year of university and was swept into the “university life”. I wanted to give others the opportunity that I had to encounter Jesus and receive the joy, love and mercy that He offers!
I joined VINE in 2009 in the office and through that year discerned that God was calling me to work on campus for the long haul. At Rise Up that year, Fr. Clair Watrin asked in a homily, “What is the desire of your heart?” and right then I knew that the desire of my heart was to be a CCO missionary and to proclaim Him!
I have now just come back to part time staff after a year of maternity leave and have been convicted that no matter where I am, I am called to be missionary and that is what brings me joy!