On a mission trip to India to visit the Missionaries of Charity at their Mother House, Maria Glaser learned firsthand what Mother Teresa meant when she said, “Joy is a net by which we catch souls.”
Maria — now Sister Mary Citlali — remembers walking into the orphanage on the first day of her trip and being utterly overwhelmed by the degree of poverty she faced, and the likes of which she had never seen. In addition, she did not speak the language and admits that she felt helpless and small amid such suffering and strife. Yet, after praying in front of the tomb of St. Teresa of Calcutta, the founder of the order, that evening and asking her for guidance, Maria began the trip anew.
“I felt the safety of a mother’s arm around me,” she says. “I learned how to do little things with great love — how to communicate with a smile.”
And with that, the journey toward discovering the vocation to which Christ was calling her took a bold turn!
At that point, Maria had been feeling called to live a religious vocation for years. She had visited multiple orders, and none of them felt right. But as she spent two weeks in India with the Missionaries of Charity, that changed! She felt called to serve God in the poorest of the poor. As she prayed in front of Mother Teresa’s grave on the last day of her trip, she asked that God would make it clear to her. Was He calling her to serve Him as a Missionary of Charity?
“I asked Mother, if God wanted me to be an MC sister, to have one of them ask me to join them,” she says.
Through the intercession of Mother Teresa, that is exactly what happened. As the group was checking in at the airport, they ran into a group of Missionaries of Charity. Right then, a sister asked Maria, “Will you be a Missionary of Charity?”
To that, Maria was surprised at this direct answer to her prayer, but through prayer and discernment with her spiritual director, she was given the grace to say yes to Christ’s call to become a Missionary of Charity.
On Dec. 8, 2021, Maria took her first vows, becoming a junior sister with the Missionaries of Charity and changing her name to Sr. Mary Citlali — the name she will identify with as she serves God for the rest of her life!
Her parents and some of her other family members joined her in San Francisco for the celebration.
“It was one of the most beautiful weddings we’ve ever witnessed — Maria saying yes to Christ and giving herself fully to Him as her spouse,” says Cindy Glaser, Sr. Citlali’s mom.
What’s more, Cindy says that the Missionary of Charity’s life is centered on Christ and the Eucharist and in serving Him in the poorest of the poor, all through the intercession of Our Lady.
“If I am going to leave her anywhere, with them is the most loving place I could leave her,” Cindy says. “They are enveloped in joy. She is Jesus’ spouse! You can’t ask for anything better for your child.”
Today, Sr. Citlali continues to serve the poorest of the poor in Southall, England. She will continue to serve as a junior sister for the next five years, during which she will also continue formation for the order until she takes her final vows, God-willing.
Where will she serve? Wherever she is sent.
Today Sr. Citlali is in England, but Cindy says they don’t know where she will go next or when — or, for that matter, even where she will take final vows. In truth, the life Sr. Citlali has chosen, the life to which God has called her is one of utter selfless service — and she has given Him her “yes” with her whole life!
What a gift! What an example! What a witness of true discipleship lived out today!
May God bless and protect Sr. Citlali as she seeks to serve Him in everyone she encounters. May we all heed Sr. Citlali’s example and give God our “yes” in all we say and do!